Rhett & Link: The Business of Viral

You may not recognize their names, but chances are good that you’ve seen them in action.

It might have been in one of their original music videos, such as “The ShamWow Song.” Perhaps it was in their Alka-Seltzer Great American Road Trip series. Chances are good that it was in the infamous Red House Furniture Store spot – one of many ads they’ve produced as part of their “I Love Local Commercials” campaign.

There are 243 videos in all, which have been viewed nearly 50 million times on YouTube since 2006.

Without question, the comedy duo of Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal have mastered the art and the science of viral video.

Hailing from a small town in North Carolina, these engineering majors might seem unlikely candidates to be among the leading innovators legitimizing a new type of broadcasting online. Yet these savvy YouTube celebrities have found a way to monetize their passion for inventive musical comedy by bridging the gap between advertising and entertainment.

While social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter are widely recognized as integral components to a successful Web marketing campaign, video content remains a gray area for many businesses. However, Rhett & Link’s reputation for creating highly popular content has brought household names – including Alka-Seltzer, Baby Ruth, Starburst, Hummer, Cadillac and McDonald’s and Coca-Cola – to their doorstep seeking custom videos and series.

Rhett & Link have invested little in their business endeavor beyond their own creativity,
but their ability to wield the true currency of Internet marketing – a dedicated following of more than 355,000 subscribers – have made the pair pioneers of branded entertainment online.

Fame Foundry’s Jordan Drake recently sat down with Rhett & Link to discover how they have harnessed the power of viral video to advance not only their own personal brand but also the brands of their sponsors as well.


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