September 11, 2006

コーク+メントスの夏:Mentos and Soda Videos Roundup

You remember Fritz Grobe (the short one, a 37-year-old professional juggler) and Stephen Voltz (the tall one, a 48-year-old trial lawyer) of EepyBird who recreated the Bellagio Fountain with 101 two-liter of Diet Coke and 523 Mentos?

Since its June 3 release, the video has been downloaded over 6 million times, and I featured the story to Nikkei Business Online this week. The draft has been sitting on my desktop for months, and I feel relieved that it finally went live. The following is the English summery.


Adding salt, candy, coin in soda is not a good idea. We all know it. Actually the finding of geyser effect dates back to early 1990s, when Mento TV ads first appeared. But untill last year, it had remained a mystery what exactly to mix, how, and where to conduct such an "experiment." The video sharing sites launched last year changed it forever.

Diet Coke + Mentos Experiments Craze
One of the first Coke+Mentos videos I could track down was this, which was uploaded on Oct. 21, 2005 by a Linux developer, Joshua Wise. Overwhelmed by the traffic, he says;
I dunno how it became so popular... there's not that much actual content to it, but it's been featured on Dave Barry's blog and a few other places, and some random place even wanted to show it on TV.
The music was an excellent choice, though. Digital Droo's "Monkey Developers" lets you dash for Coke and Mentos shelves no matter what. The song was dedicated to the world's 24th richest man, Steve Ballmer's viral video classics "Dancemonkey Boy"and "Developers" and I tought it'd be an excellent opportunity to introduce James Carusone's techno remix to Japanese audience, so I embedded it in the appendix. By now, it's probably been exposed to hudreds of thousands of business managers, if not millions, all over Japan.

The experiment was verified in the bathtub in Dec., and its link was featured on Boing Boing in April. Then on June 3, came out the ultimate "Experiments No. 137."

I first saw it on xpotechi's blog(as always). CBS's "Late Show with David Letterman" was one of the first talk shows to feature the clip (released on Sat., they got a phone call from CBS on Monday morning). On Today Show's clip(6/30), you can view them performing in close-up.

It's just amazing, and their smile reminds us of something we forgot long, long ago. In Today Show, Grobe said they got contacted from the creator of Hotel Bellagio's fountain and had a meet-up, which is nice to know:)

Ad Effect
The Coca-Cola Inc. somehow commented "craziness with Mentos ... doesn't fit with the brand personality of Diet Coke," whereas the Mentos maker, Perfetti Van Melles based in Italy, totally appreciated the creation, estimating the value of online buzz (800+ videos) to be over $10m (WSJ). That is over a half of its annual ad budget for the US market!

The Mentos team was quick to respond; delivering the duo tons of free Mentos for further experiments, buying out an ad space from its video host Revver, launching Mentos Geyser Video Contest, setting up YouTube group. The contest ends Sept 30, and its winners will get 1000 iTunes downloads and one-year supply of Mentos. I wonder how many loads of Mentos that would be...

Human Experiments Denied Entry
At the end of Aug., a guy swallowing Mentos and then drinking diet soda appeared getting 1091 diggs, and one such (poor video quality) was denied by the contest provider. That's when everybody realized why they restricted participants to be "18 or older."

Science behind the Soda Geyser
As a matter of fact, any carbonated soda works fine, though Mentos has to be mint flavored. Some experts say Mentos' ingredient, gum arabic, causes the geyser, but Discovery Channel's "MythBusters (Aug 9)"(article, vid) explains that it's the process called "nucleation" combined with a "cascade" effect (an ion exchange).

"6mil DLs=$30,000"~Revver's Profit Sharing Model
Unlike other viral hits such as Evolution of Dance and Canon Rock, Mentos video made the creators
over $30,000. Unlike YouTube, the video hosting Revver lets users make money from ads when viewers click on their video. You can embed or e-mail the link to make money, too.

Revver co-founder Oliver Luckett tells us how he found Mentos video here in the last 22 sec.

TechCrunch's comparison article highlighted this feature last Nov., saying "One service that has a unique feature is Revver. Much like FruitCast for podcasts, Revver will auto-insert advertisements directly into your videos and share revenue with you."

"$30,000 per 6 million views" won't impress corporate users, but for individuals, that's a big incentive. With that, they can make a sequel, and that's exactly what EepyBird is currently working. (Marshall posted his thoughts on profit sharing yesterday ->Top social media users getting paid; is the balance shifting?)

If you search for Coke+Mentos, YouTube returns 3905 and GoogleVideo returns 852 entries. SJ Mercury reported that their new release is coming up on this month, and I can't wait to see it!


NBOnlineコラム「泡も噂も止まらない!米国で大流行、メントス・ビデオ」の英語版サマリーです。末尾でご紹介したバルマーのテクノ・リミックスはJames Carusone氏の作品。


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