Photo Credit: ManInACube
The announcement by Michael Krivicka and the geniuses of ThinkModo that Dave, the guy living inside the iconic Astor Place cube in NYC, has not, in fact been living inside the cube, has left us wondering how social media moves us to feel for stories that we secretly don’t believe, but really want to believe. Michael takes a second to answer a few questions on the creation of the Man in a Cube campaign for WHIL mediation, and why Dave meant so much to us.
Christina Majaski, SocialTimes: What inspired the Man in a Cube video?
Michael Krivicka: The client wanted thinking “outside the box” and we thought we’d just reverse that. WHIL is a 60-second meditation targeted towards busy urban professionals, who need to unplug a few times during the day. We basically wanted to create a story about a guy who went to extremes to cope with the digital stress in his life. So we created Dave, a writer who needed to unplug without leaving the city because he needed to be surrounded by the city for inspiration. Our story arch ends with Dave realizing that he no longer needs to live in the cube because he found a much better solution for his digitally overloaded life: WHIL.
Christina: Who is Dave?
Michael: Dave is not an actor. He is a very talented video editor and a good friend of mine. His real name is Dave and he really does meditate every day. He was the perfect candidate for this role.
Christina: Why did you choose the Astor Place Cube and what was the biggest challenge in making the video realistic?
Michael: We wanted something iconic and recognizable for this, something that can become a metaphor for the campaign. Living inside a cube was the main concept. The way we pulled it off was we created a perfect replica of the cube inside an artist’s studio in Brooklyn. We also recreated one of the 6 panels of the cube, the one with Dave’s entrance point. We placed that panel next to the real cube in the middle of the night and shot Dave coming in and out of it. We framed it in a way so you would only see that panel and the surrounding buildings. Once put it all together in post production, the video became very realistic and believable.
Christina: What do you think resonated with viewers and caused them to share the video?
Michael: The video looks real. The story is crazy. Many can relate to paying high rents in NYC. Many can relate to the need to unplug. It was a mix of all these things that made the video compelling.
Christina: How did the video become so popular? What did you do to get the video moving?
Michael: Not sure how to answer this one really. We never pay for views so all of the traction is organic.
Christina: The video is about a man who was “burnt out with life in general” and wanted to get away from the craziness of texting, social media, and phone calls. Who did you receive the biggest reaction from?
Michael: Lots of people could relate to Dave and his situation. It’s one of the things that makes the video concept relatable and sharable. We have all been there. We have all these moments where we just need to disconnect and take a breather.
Christina: Although funny, I hoped the video was real and some of the comments indicate that many others believed and hoped it to be real, as well. What do you think that says about viewers on the Internet in general and the willing suspension of disbelief?
Michael: There are lots of things I see online that turn out to be fake. Sometimes it is disappointing and sometimes it is a relief. In the case of our video we created something very cool that could or could not be real. That was left for interpretation for the viewers. We like leaving questions. We like walking the fine line of reality and fiction. It’s what makes our videos so engaging. Is it real? Check this out!
Christina: What, if anything, can we learn from the popularity of the Man in a Cube and the elements required in creating viral media?
Michael: It’s a fresh and original story. We don’t create spoofs and parodies of other trending videos. We want to create something very unique that people remember. It’s a big challenge to keep coming up with things like that. It also takes a lot of research to make sure that an idea hasn’t been done before. The end result is almost always very strong and viral.