Mild-mannered Outdoor News blogger achieves youtube.com celebrity status
This is the story behind a commercial for the product Rutt Wipe that recently went viral on the web with almost a million views. The commercial has also been featured on a national television network and is worth watching before reading on to get a sense of what its all about.
Every year at Game Fair a wide variety of companies come to sell their products to an outdoors market. Some of the same large companies are there every year, but my favorites are the folks who bring the latest invention they created in their garage. Some of these inventions get picked up by consumers and make it big. The majority of the inventions don’t quite make it on the scene for one reason or another.
I was approached by one of these inventors a few years back and asked to make a commercial for them about their product. I was hesitant because I wasn’t sure if the world was ready for blaze orange toilet paper and if my commercial would help him turn a profit. Brian Primus was that inventor and he seemed really fired up about his product, he had a cool logo and sales booth, and was working the crowds really well.
We talked several times about it over the six days of Game Fair and, after sketching out what the advertisement would look like, made a gentleman’s agreement to make the ad. I figured that Primus wouldn’t call, but several days later he called, we agreed on a price, and set a target date for completion.
I wrote the script for the commercial, figured out what props I would need, and worked on finding some actors to star in the commercial. I planned on filming it during the early goose season with my hunting crew, but Mother Nature changed those plans with a end of hunt storm during the scheduled production time.
I found myself up in Bemidji with my cousin and his now ex-wife, and told them I have to finish this commercial in a few days. They offered to be the actors and because we needed three people, I became the third. We wandered out into the woods in early September with the deer mount in my office, a roll of white toilet paper we drilled a hole into (to simulate it being shot), several roles of Rutt Wipe, and my camera gear.
My cousin and his wife donned blaze orange while I put on not-so-safe hunting clothes including a checkered red and black hat to match the Rutt Wipe logo. We filmed it taking turns holding the camera and using a tripod. Filming took about 30 minutes and then I went to work on the production.
I did a few post-production shots and had my cousin and his wife record some voiceovers. I found a fake gunshot sound and made my own fake fart sound (I vocalized the fart with my mouth, not my butt), stitched it all together and realized it was missing something—we didn’t have an actual deer wearing Rutt Wipe.
No animals were harmed in the filming of the commercial because Primus and I got together to film the final shot using a deer decoy he purchased. We actually met at the Game Fair grounds and shot the scene where the deer is coyly looking at the camera with Rutt Wipe on his tail. Primus stood behind a tree holding my deer mount in his hand with the decoy behind him. It gave the look of a real deer walking behind a tree and a piece of fishing line affixed to the tail, being tugged by me as I filmed the shot, made the decoy come to life.
All in all, it’s a campy production that was a lot of fun to create. We put it on YouTube and I figured that was the end of it. And then my middle school students found it and so did their parents—and the reception was fantastic. It never topped more than a few thousand views, however, in the first year of its release.
The good news is that Primus was super happy with the commercial and the response. A few months later, he calls me to say that our commercial is going to air on national television.
Apparently, the television show “World’s Dumbest” on the Tru-TV network spotlighted Rutt Wipe with a makeover of the original. Comedian Jared Logan took the commercial and made fun of some of the dumber elements within. He also made a startling confession about the effect using blaze orange toilet paper had on him. You can see that segment here. http://www.trutv.com/shows/worlds-dumbest/videos/dont-get-shot-with-your-pants-down.html
And then most recently, in a totally unexpected twist, a Facebook page edited the commercial and posted it online. I first heard about it from Ryan Bronson of Federal Cartridge and then I started hearing about it from everybody. Over the next 24 hours the video view count was increasing by the hundred thousand every time I checked it.
It’s also resurfaced at school and I’ve had tons of middle schoolers asking for confirmation that they saw a commercial with their teacher pretending to employ nature’s outhouse. Upon confirming that speculation, the cool points soar through the roof, “I’m going to show my family this commercial.”
It’s a high price to pay for fame, but somebody has to do it.