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O2L star Kian Lawley goes ‘missing’ as part of ‘Ouija’ marketing stunt
One of YouTube’s most popular vlogger fakes a disappearance to promote a new horror film.
Kian Lawley, one fifth of YouTuber super collab Our2ndLife, did something unthinkable in October. He went completely silent for days on social media, whirling fans into a frenzy.
Lawley’s disappearance was part of a branded tie-in for Ouija, a horror film hitting theaters Friday, Oct. 24. Fullscreen, the group’s multichannel network, brokered the deal between the film studio and the vloggers, setting up a series of videos that unravel the mystery of Lawley’s social media silence. After posting a video playing with a Ouija board, a mysterious found-footage video appeared on Lawley’s channel showing him being dragged through a doorway. Four days later he broke his silence.
I’m editing tmrw’s vid & something weird keeps happening in my room …
— KEY-YUHN! (@KianLawley) October 5, 2014
HI FREND… #Ouija
— KEY-YUHN! (@KianLawley) October 8, 2014
Fellow members Jc Caylen and Ricky Dillon held a seance, uncovering that Lawley was in Chicago and tracked him down in a haunted house, where the boys reunited along with over 600 excited fans.
Marketing departments are increasingly tapping YouTubers for their campaigns, with major blockbusters like The Hunger Games using YouTubers as fictional hosts and Warner Bros. getting adventurous creators to partake in a Tough Mudders course to promote Tom Cruise vehicles. But the O2L stunt went beyond a branded video, engaging the boys’ fanbase across multiple platforms, from YouTube to Twitter to Snapchat, generating 5.6 million video views, 510,000 social engagements, and 17.3 million hashtag impressions for #ouijawhereiskian
— ?5 Days?/PLS SHAWN (@like_apple_pie_) October 13, 2014
imagine something really happened to kian and we think this is a prank omg but no thats impossible #OuijaWhereIsKian
— trev 6/6? | rt bio! (@avonsdillon) October 6, 2014
*auditions for x-factor* *enters stage* *clears throat* *takes deep breath* #OuijaWhereIsKian *drops mic* *leaves*
— was @lovesicklawley (@frickmyfranta) October 7, 2014
— lacie (@thatssocashew) October 8, 2014
While not all YouTubers could have the draw that Our2ndLife demonstrates, marketing efforts like this definitely increase what is possible when traditional marketing teams up with YouTube.
Screengrab via Jc Caylen/YouTube
A former YouTube reporter for the Daily Dot, Rae Votta has more than a decade of experience in the digital and entertainment industries. Her work has appeared on AOL, Huffington Post, Out Magazine, Logo, VH1, Current TV, Billboard, and NYMag. She joined Netflix in 2016.