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What chew laughing at?

27 May 2016 | Abbie-Jaye Wilson

Who would have thought that a woman in a Chewbacca mask, could’ve taken the internet by storm?

Have you ever been so excited with one of your purchases and posted a video about it on Facebook? No?

Well that’s exactly what Candace Payne from Texas did last Thursday. And now she’s become an overnight sensation.

Labelled the ‘Chewbacca Mom’, Candace purchased the electronic mask from Kohl’s superstore in her hometown. Soon after she got back into her car, in the car park, she set up her smart phone in the dash board and began recording her first ever live streamed Facebook video to her family and friends (she thought). Her enthusiasm for the Wookie mask instigated her infectious, heart-warming laugh. She found the whole thing so funny that half of the video was just of Candace laughing at herself. And, to be honest, it was rather funny! 

Her intention for the video was to document the moment of her purchase, to let her two children know that the mask was hers and not up for grabs. Little did she know that the video would reach more than 144 million people worldwide.

Kohl’s decided to reward Payne for her free publicity, by giving her and her family a bunch of Star Wars gifts (The kids finally received their own Chewbacca masks!) and $2,500 worth of gift card vouchers to spend at the superstore. With the publicity that Kohl’s has received off the back of it, it’s a small enough price to pay.

Since her new found fame Candace has had a busy week. She was a guest on Good Morning America; she’s done an hilarious carpool along with James Corden and  JJ Abrams; Facebook HQ invited her to Menlo Park to meet the developers of ‘Facebook Live’; she got to cycle with a life size Chewbacca at Facebook HQ; she made her way to San Francisco to visit LucasFilms (she was amazed by the world famous Yoda fountain and uploaded another Live video onto Facebook) and there are even rumours that she is going to meet Peter Mayhew (the original Chewbacca actor from the original films).

What an incredible week by anyone’s standard!

The Chewbacca video has become the most watched live-streamed Facebook video of all time, beating Channing Tatum’s paltry second place offering of 12m views. It’s incredible how fast your life can change with the power of a viral video.

I bet the makers of the mask are beside themselves with glee. This is absolute PR gold for a business. The masks are literally flying off the shelves! You can’t plan for this publicity; you just have to bask in its glow.