Home > TV > Yo-Yo man strings along TV morning shows

Yo-Yo man strings along TV morning shows

Yo-yo champion in town preaching his “green” message to schoolchildren stops by the local morning TV news show. What could go wrong?

Let’s go to the tape.

Takes a minute to soak in. And it raises a lot of questions, chief of which is: “Is this guy for real?”

Any time we ask that question, the initial answer is typically, “No way.”

But there was something about this guy. He didn’t pitch anything. No, “Here’s my website,” or “Buy my DVD.”

Plus, he was just weird enough to be real.

It is 2010. Perhaps he intended to rely on the Google magic. Business plan?

1) Pose as aloof environmental activist/yo-yo champion on small-market morning TV news show.

2) Go by a weird nickname that no one else will own, SEO-wise or otherwise.

3) Profit?

Several of us at the station surface-Googled the guy. Those quick searches only turned up one link: a publicity page for K-Strass that looked somewhat legit.

Let’s go to the tape again.

No way this guy’s for real. For real?

Throughout the day, I wrestled with the seemingly real reactions. The way he responded to the anchors didn’t come off as scripted. (How about those anchors, by the way? They handled that situation as well as anyone could have.)

I didn’t notice it until my second viewing, but after K-Strass hits himself with the yo-yo, Ariane asks how long he’s been practicing. His response: “When did Schubert Dip come out?”

Then and there, I started thinking, “He’s Unbelievable.”

My journalism training made me a skeptic. My obsession with Lost made me think the fake yo-yo guy deliberately dropped an obscure 1990s album title as a hint about his believability.

Later in the day, while I was doing Live at Five, Kent Heier cracked the case and lived to tweet about it. This wasn’t K-Strass’s first rodeo.

There we had it. A nice, tidy wrap-up to the story to coincide with the end of my work day.

But I couldn’t stop thinking about it. What was this guy trying to sell? A stand-up comedy act? Environmentalism? Yo-yos?

I went back to the site that Google gave us earlier. In addition to the publicity blurb for our new buddy, K-Strass, it had links about green living and stats on environmentally-unfriendly toys.

Could it be? Was this whole thing Gallagher-meets-Greenpeace? A cleverly-planned publicity stunt that capitalizes on search-engine-optimization strategy to drive traffic and attention to a five-page website of “green” tips and statistics?

Or is the website just part of the front to perpetuate the hoax, so the comedian can continue to make morning-show appearances?

Hard to say. But K-Strass is for real — even if it’s just in the arena of strategic attention-grabbing.

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  1. May 7, 2010 at 1:54 am

    Brilliantly executed prank/PR stunt by K-Strauss and yes, the HTM anchors were spot-on. They let him ramble for just long enough before commanding the stage again.

    As Johnny-come-lately to this news, I was expecting the cynical angle. Something to the effect of, “Hey, I’m ‘going green’ with yo-yos and buzzwords that fill the seats and sell the ads.” My theory about a media-savvy allegorical wizard may still hold true. But after reading the article Kent Heier found I believe it’s a masterful PR stunt for the Found Footage Festival. In which case, I fully support. The Found Footage Festival reminds me of the TV Sheriff.

    Also in the report Kent linked to is this ominous/coincidental quote, “It literally feels like you are in the cockpit of a blue flying angel.”

    • May 7, 2010 at 7:13 pm

      Sorry I’m just now getting the chance to respond to your comments, Cory.

      This thing certainly has grabbed some attention. A nice little way to wrap up the work week, if you ask me!

  2. May 7, 2010 at 2:02 am

    Addendum: Do not prank Wisconsin news markets, they get even by getting investigative.

  3. Kent
    May 7, 2010 at 8:17 am

    Thanks for the mention. I probably wouldn’t have dug much further if I hadn’t noticed after three or four viewings that his T-shirt didn’t match the website (Zim Zam vs. Zip Zap). Like you I’m not sure what the “product” is (you can’t actually buy the toys on the Zip Zap site), but at least the guy’s entertaining.

    Also, “Schubert Dip” would make excellent yo-yo music.

    • May 7, 2010 at 7:15 pm

      I noticed the t-shirt, too, but not until I watched the Wisconsin video. These guys really should have had some yo-yos ready to sell. Or at least some of those sweet, green shorts.

  4. May 7, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    This might explain everything: Saturday, May 8th Found Footage Festival, 7:30 p.m., $10, The Granada, Lawrence, KS

  5. May 7, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    That’s actually tonight. (Sorry for the multiple posts)

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