As YouTube becomes the preferred source of entertainment for audiences who spent an average of 1.7 hours a day on social media platforms (according to We Are Social) and 40 minutes per YouTube session on their mobile devices (YouTube), many of the internet’s best content creators are capturing the attention of millions by planning, executing, and filming themselves pranking friends, significant others, and/or unsuspecting members of the public. In honor of April Fool’s Day, we take a look at some of the most popular YouTube pranksters and how their mass appeal is drawing sponsorship opportunities from some of the world’s biggest brands.
Among the many different types of YouTube videos, pranking videos excel as some of the most watched, most shared, and most entertaining content being created by today’s top social media influencers. Taking cues from the success of “Jackass” stars Johnny Knoxville and Steve-O, YouTube pranksters like Roman Atwood and PrankvsPrank engage millions of YouTube subscribers by concocting scenarios that, because of the shocking or LOL-inducing nature of the content, are often shared throughout social circles and have a tendency to “go viral.”
Whether they are chasing pedestrians dressed up as zombies or turning entire houses into ball pits (see Roman Atwood’s video below), YouTube pranksters are adept at developing hilarious or outrageous concepts that engage audiences and leave followers wanting to see more. By collaborating with top YouTubers to integrate brand sponsorships into these widely shared and high-visibility videos, global brands like Nissan, Pepsi, and Universal have all been able to reach elusive millennial consumers and facilitate the creation of content that will be shared by millions on social media platforms around the world.
The rapid growth of YouTube and the popularity of planning elaborate pranks has made the YouTube prank video a genre in and of itself. Today, dozens of talented prank-pulling content creators are trying to achieve the same level of notoriety as the following social media stars:
One of the platform’s first YouTube pranksters, Roman Atwood’s fame has actually made it difficult to pull pranks (because all of his “marks” recognize him immediately). Many of Atwood’s stunts are over-the-top in nature—covering a house completely in toilet paper, for example, or blowing up various vehicles—and draw millions of views (his channel has over 1.2 billion video views) each, making him an ideal partner for brand sponsorships and influencer marketing collaborations. On April 1st (April Fool’s Day, fittingly), the social media star’s new movie “Natural Born Pranksters” will be released in theaters and digitally.
YouTube’s leading prankster couple, PrankvsPrank’s Jesse and Jeana popularity began with Jesse feeding Jeana a spoonful of cinnamon and has since grown to over 10 million channel subscribers. The couple is currently working on an original YouTube Red series entitled “Prank Academy,” and the family-friendly nature of PrankvsPrank’s videos has led to influencer marketing partnerships with brands like Pepsi, Totino’s Pizza Rolls, Ubisoft, Fox, and Universal Studios.
YouTube prankster Dennis Roady Deeds has amassed over 1 million subscribers by pulling pranks on unsuspecting members of the public, the most popular of which involve sports cars or luxury automobiles. Deeds also prides himself on doing random good deeds, and his popularity has earned him a place alongside Roman Atwood in the upcoming film “Natural Born Pranksters.”
Also known as Yousef Erakat, fouseyTUBE’s pranks often manifest as “social experiments” (“What If The Homeless Gave You Money”), pranks featuring video game characters (“Mortal Kombat Elevator Prank”), or ethnically-themed skits a la ||Superwoman|| (“Middle Eastern Parents”). To date, fouseyTUBE’s hilarious content has garnered over 8 million subscribers and 1.1 billion video views, making it one of the most successful YouTube channels on the platform today.
With over 4 million subscribers and 550 million video views, MagicofRahat is known primarily for his creative “drive thru pranks,” wherein he surprises employees at drive-through restaurants with visual effects and/or shocking scenarios (“Drive Thru Invisible Driver Prank”).