YouTube Star Disappears: Elaborate Hoax

YouTube Star Disappears: Elaborate Hoax

Universal Pictures’s horror movie “Ouija,” which premieres on Friday, isn’t just the first brand to run ads on SnapChat. The movie studio has also spent the past few weeks making popular YouTube creators disappear.

Kian Lawley, who boasts of 2.1 million YouTube subscribers, fell off the digtial map earlier this month, as he stopped posting videos and shut down social media activity. That was following a video posted to his YouTube channel–ostensibly by his YouTube buddy Ricky–which appeared to show Mr. Lawley being dragged away by an unseen force after using a Ouija board.

Shields, Mike

It was all part of an elaborate stunt orchestrated by Universal and the YouTube multichannel network Fullscreen, which represents Mr. Lawley. It’s the latest example of traditional marketers tapping  influential Web talent to produce content for them. Though in this case, Mr. Lawley was paid–for a brief period of time–to do nothing.

Essentially, Mr. Lawley “went missing,” disappearing from Twitter, SnapChat and other platforms where he typically maintains a devoted following of fans–on Universal’s dime.

Meanwhile, Fullscreen encouraged fans to post updates on his whereabouts via the hashtag #ouijawhereskian. According to Fullscreen, the effort has generated over 17.3 million social media impressions an over 5 million video views.

We’re going to find Kian.  Gettin out the Ouija board again tonight…new video tmrw.  Wish me luck.. #OuijaWhereIsKian

10:57 PM – 8 Oct 2014


Eventually, Mr. Lawley, along with fellow YouTube creators Jc Caylen and Ricky Dillon (part of the YouTube group O2L), turned up at a haunted house in Chicago last weekend (and posted the video “We Found Kian“).  The final video is set to debut today when “Ouija” debut in theaters.

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$0.45 USD - $4.00 USD

Note: The accepted formula that Auxiliary Mode Inc. uses to calculate the CPM range is $0.45 USD - $25.00 USD.

The range fluctuates this much because many factors come into play when calculating a CPM. Quality of traffic, source country, niche type of video, price of specific ads, adblock, the actual click rate, watch time and etc.

Cost per thousand (CPM) is a marketing term used to denote the price of 1,000 advertisement impressions on one webpage. If a website publisher charges $2.00CPM, that means an advertiser must pay $2.00 for every 1,000 impressions of its ad. The "M" in CPM represents the Roman numeral for 1,000.

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