Online gi­raffe craze

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - By SAM DUFF

A for­mer Tawa man said he was as­ton­ished by the suc­cess of a Face­book gi­raffe craze he started.

Thai­land- based An­drew Strugnell, 24, cre­ated the Great Gi­raffe Chal­lenge, which in­volves chang­ing your Face­book pic­ture to a gi­raffe if you get a rid­dle wrong. As of Mon­day, The Great Gi­raffe Chal­lenge Face­book page had 142,000 likes and Face­book users all over the world had changed their avatars to gi­raffes.

Mr Strugnell said he was blown away by the suc­cess of his game.

‘‘ I guess the best word to de­scribe it is sur­real,’’ he said.

‘‘ It has blown up some­thing crazy. I can’t be­lieve this is hap­pen­ing right now.’’

The mad­ness be­gan when he shared a Face­book post, Mr Strugnell said.

‘‘I shared the rid­dle on Face­book that a friend from New Zealand had posted,’’ he said.

‘‘Af­ter 80 friends com­mented and liked the post I thought, ‘Heck, I’ll make a Youtube video’.’’

That Youtube video had been viewed over 600,000 times on Mon­day.

In­ter­na­tional news me­dia had al­ready been in touch with the young New Zealan­der.

‘‘I would never have ex­pected to see my face on web­sites such as CNN, Time and the Huff­in­g­ton Post,’’ he said.

Mr Strugnell, who was born in South Africa and moved to New Zealand when he was 5, was sur­prised some me­dia had la­belled him Aus­tralian.

‘‘I am a proud Kiwi through and through.’’ His par­ents still live in Tawa.

‘‘They are both in their 60s and it has been re­ally hard try­ing to ex­plain to them the enor­mity of what has hap­pened on the in­ter- net,’’ he said.

For the first three days af­ter the video was posted he re­ceived 1000 emails a day from those try­ing to solve the rid­dle.

‘‘I spent hours on the first two nights just mes­sag­ing peo­ple back.

‘‘We ended up with over 26,000 Face­book mes­sages that needed a re­sponse, so we set up a web­site.’’

Mr Strugnell moved to Thai­land early this year and found a job with video up­load web­site Ci­ti­zenTV.

His Youtube chan­nel Strugsnot­drugs had more than 5000 sub­scribers.

He said he had plenty of ideas of what to do next with the Great Gi­raffe Chal­lenge.

‘‘Un­of­fi­cially we have cre­ated the Great Gi­raffe Chal­lenge Com­pany.’’

He and eight friends in­tended to post a rid­dle each week on the web­site, which has been mak­ing a profit.

He said they were plan­ning T-shirts, an iPhone app and mu­sic videos.

Photo: AN­DREA O’NEIL

Won­der boy: Ni­vadah Ruru as Won­der Woman.

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