Floating Chewing Gum Hoax Video
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Chewing Gum and Helium Experiment Video

by Brett M. Christensen

Outline

Circulating video supposedly shows young men floating above the ground and jumping safely from a high bridge solely with the aid of a chewing gum bubble filled with helium.

Brief Analysis

The video is not what it seems. The men are not really being lifted off the ground by helium-filled gum bubbles. Its creators have used clever special effects to make it appear that the men are floating using gum bubbles.

Example

Subject: Chewing gum and helium experiment

This is incredible! Is this possible, as depicted in the wmv?

 

Detailed Analysis

This quite entertaining video circulates via YouTube and other video sharing websites as well as via email. Ostensibly, the video depicts a group of young men experimenting with chewing gum bubbles filled with helium gas.

The footage shows the men floating in the air and even jumping safely off a high bridge, after blowing gum bubbles using helium that they sucked into their mouths. Supposedly, the helium trapped in the gum bubbles is able to quite easily lift the boys off the ground, at least until the bubble bursts.
Not surprisingly, however, things are not as they seem. The makers of the video have actually used swings suspended below large booms to carry the boys through the air. With the aid of some clever special effects, the swings and booms have been removed from the footage, thus making it appear that the boys are flying through the air solely with the aid of the helium-filled gum bubbles.

A subsequent “reveal” video shows just how the stunts were achieved:

The video was created as an advertising-related viral test. Viral video advertising is a quite effective advertising strategy that has been used by an increasing number of companies. In such advertising campaigns, an entertaining video often depicting an outlandish stunt or event is launched on an unsuspecting Internet public.

The companies hope that their videos will “go viral” thereby generating a lot of exposure for their products. In some cases, the video will include logos and other material promoting the company.

In other cases, the advertiser is not immediately apparent. In this latter version of the tactic, the advertiser will “own up” to the video only after it has become popular and the object of a great deal of online debate. This strategy ensures that the name of the company or product is eventually discussed on a great many websites, blogs, forums and social networks, thereby providing the company with a great deal of free advertising.

The helium chewing gum video was designed to gain the interest of companies who may wish to try this manner of advertising and was originally hosted on its own “Viral Test” website. Potential advertisers were invited to test out the concept for free by having their company logo added at various places within the footage and then distributing the “personalised” version of the video “far and wide on the Internet”.

For the record, there is no possible way that even a large helium-filled gum bubble could lift an average size person. An article on the HowStuffWorks website calculates that it would take a whopping 4000 regular-sized helium-filled balloons to lift a 50-kilogram person.  

Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,
Hoax-Slayer