The Chewbacca Mask viral video laughs its way around the world on social media

May 26 2016
Published in Trends

Texas mother Candace Payne shot to unexpected stardom this weekend after a video she posted on Facebook Live went viral. Her Chewbacca mask unboxing video, complete with hysterical laughter, was massively shared on social media and in the press. We used the Visibrain media monitoring platform to take a look at how Candace’s infectious giggles turned into a global phenomenon in a matter of hours.

A record-breaking video that took over the internet

Mrs Payne’s unboxing video, made with nothing more than a bit of fun in mind, unexpectedly took the internet by storm. Originally posted on Facebook Live, the video has since reached global fame of epic proportions: 140 million views on Facebook, half a million tweets and over 5000 press articles and blog posts.

It has been viewed millions of times on Youtube, and hundreds of copies, spoofs and reaction videos have been published using Twitter video,, Dailymotion, Vine, and many more.

The #HappyChewbacca video turns into an unexpected internet sensation

The Chewbacca mask video was published on Facebook at 9.24 pm (GMT), and Candace’s infectious laughter was an instant hit with her viewers. Comments started trickling in as the video was increasingly shared: 9 hours later, the video had over 1 million views. If you still haven’t seen it, you can wath it below:

The video was tweeted for the first time a few hours at 1.44 am (GMT):

The first person to tweet about the Chewbacca mask viral video

Mention volumes started to rise slowly as an increasing number of influencers began tweeting about the video, including @JustJared and Candace herself:

Press coverage of the video started the following day, causing online coversations to escalate rapidly. If we look at mention volumes on May 20th, we can see that after a slow start, a spike occurred between 1 pm and 2 pm, when Mashable published an article about the viral video:

A mention graph showing the start of the Chewbacca mask viral video trend on Twitter

From that moment on, volumes continued to rise as more and more news networks started covering the topic. Some of the world’s biggest, including Mashable, the BBC, Buzzfeed, CNN and Vice all published stories about the Chewbacca Mask phenomenon:

The top news networks covering the Chewbacca mask viral video

The video attracted the attention of top influencers, brands and celebrities, including actor Peter Mayhew, the original Chewbacca, and the official Star Wars Twitter handle:

Online mention volumes continued to rise over the course of the weekend as press coverage continued and the video was increasingly shared on social media, as well as on blogs and private messaging services.

Kohl’s surfs the trend

Kohl’s, the store behind Candace’s purchase, was presented with a marketing opportunity that was too good to miss. The brand responded quickly, showering Candace and her family with surprise gifts. The resulting video, astutely named “The happiest Chewbacca”, was shared 49,647 times over the weekend on Twitter, and over 500,000 times on Facebook:

The well-timed response also generated a lot of attention and positive feeling towards Kohl’s as a brand:

The Visibrain Quicktrends graph below shows overall mention volumes and online activity around Kohl’s over the past 30 days. The huge spike that occurred over the weekend speaks for itself:

Online conversations around Kohl's before and after the Chewbacca mask viral video

Kohl’s was mentioned 49,338 times this weekend, a vast increase in the usual amount of online conversation the brand.

The Chewbacca viral video shows just how important it is for brands to be aware of what is being said about them online: this incident was a golden opportunity for Kohl’s, and handled it brilliantly. It’s not an easy thing to do, as Red Lobster proved when they missed a similar opportunity during this year’s Super Bowl.

This case is also a great example of the power of social media: it can truly have a positive (or negative) effect on a brand’s image, and drive sales too: good luck with getting your hands on one of those Chewbacca masks anytime soon.

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Published in Trends