WASHINGTON—Gary Brolsma, the star of the Web's first big video hit, a lip-sync of a Romanian pop song, emerged from seclusion this week to make a full-throttle run at celebrity.
You may or may not remember the baby-faced Brolsma from 2004, before YouTube.com exploded onto the Internet and million-hit videos became routine. His performance, especially in the song's chorus ("numa, numa") was as enthusiastic as a chipmunk on speed. In short order, fans e-mailed it around the Internet millions of times. Brolsma, then 18, even appeared on "Good Morning America."
He recoiled from his Internet fame, however, moved back in with his parents in northern New Jersey, stopped talking to reporters and made no follow-up videos, even as thousands of fan-made versions of "Numa Numa" showed up online. Now, after two years as a computer technician in Saddle Brook, N.J., Brolsma is doing for money what he did just for fun in his first video.
He's the on-air talent for a new commercial video promoting Bluetooth iPod headphones. It'll be released Sept. 8 by Jaeter Corp., a Minneapolis-based marketing firm that's getting into "viral marketing." That's tech-speak for advertising that spreads through the Web on its own power, like a virus.
"I was pretty much overwhelmed," Brolsma said of his unexpected early fame. "The video was a spur-of-the-moment thing you're making for friends."
As James Egge, Jaeter's chief executive officer, explained, "Gary, of course, kind of went a little recluse. He wasn't expecting the fame."
In Brolsma's new video, "New Numa," which features lip-syncing, dancing antics similar to his original, he wears Bluetooth's wireless earphones. The video is set to a Russian song recorded specifically for Brolsma.
Jaeter hopes that Brolsma will catch on a second time and propel the headphones to fame.
To fertilize the buzz, Jaeter is offering a $45,000 prize for the best fan video it receives.
"I want to really hold the same feeling that the first video had," Brolsma said.
But that might be the toughest part of this trick. What made the first "Numa Numa" such fun was that Brolsma seemed to be a normal guy who wasn't trying for fame or money.
You can find Brolsma's original video on www.youtube.com by searching "Numa Numa Original"
Check out www.newnuma.com for info on the upcoming release
(c) 2006, McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.
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