Best Viral Video

A half-court shot worth 75K ‘hooks’ tens of millions of views

Carmex’s online contest puts an Everyman at the center of an arena. What happens next puts him all over the Internet. 

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Having your video go viral takes preparation and luck. Often, it’s a one-time opportunity.

It’s a bit like tossing a basketball from midcourt and hoping it goes through the hoop. The odds aren’t good, but sometimes it works out.

On one particular occasion, that’s exactly what happened, and the result was a hugely successful video that grabbed eyeballs on traditional and social media channels—and also won PR Daily’s 2013 Video Award for Best Viral Video.

In the Carmex Half-Court Hero challenge, fan Michael Drysch won an online contest that saw about 175,000 entries. He was flown to Miami and got one chance to sink a shot from the tip-off circle at midcourt between quarters of a Miami Heat home game. If he succeeded, he’d get a check for $75,000. 

No pressure. Especially not after his introduction to the crowd and a second mention that the shot was worth 75 grand.

Two steps and a hook shot that seemed to take a week to come down. Bang. Right through the hoop. 

Pandemonium. 

LeBron James, the biggest name in the NBA, left his team’s huddle and ran to center court, where he bear-hugged Drysch before the two toppled to the floor. James was a co-sponsor of the campaign, and if the shot was made, Carmex also would donate $75,000 to the LeBron James Family Foundation and the Boys and Girls Club of America.

The moment of truth had everything: an Everyman on a huge stage, with so much riding on, literally, a long shot. Even people who don’t like sports could embrace this man and his magic moment. 

The video is the most watched ever on the NBA’s YouTube channel, with more than 31 million views. ESPN featured it that night as its No. 1 play of the day. Follow-up coverage reached major online, print, and broadcast news outlets, all adding up to millions of dollars’ worth of publicity.

Congratulations to Patrick Hodgdon, Cassandra Mosley, Alisa Allen, Sheila Erickson, Mike Kraabel, Kirk Hodgdon, Mimi Jamaleldin, and Molly Dunne for tossing up their unlikely shot—and seeing it hit the target. 

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