Viral Chewbacca mask sells out on Kohls.com and other major websites, while Amazon third-party sellers hope to profit with huge markups.
It’s the most popular Facebook Live video so far — yep, easily beating out that goofy Buzzfeed watermelon video — and it’s throwing cold water on the idea that social/viral marketing can’t drive e-commerce sales.
I’m talking about Candace Payne’s “Chewbacca mask” video, which she broadcast live on Facebook last Thursday from the parking lot of a Kohl’s department store in the Dallas area. In the video, Payne laughs her way through the joyous unpacking and wearing of a toy mask that makes sounds like Chewbacca, the Star Wars Wookiee warrior. You’ve probably seen the video by now, but just in case:
As of this morning, Payne’s video has been watched more than 137 million times on Facebook and a few million more on YouTube, where third parties have uploaded Payne’s video to their own accounts. It’s been shared on Facebook more than 3.1 million times and has almost 2.5 million reactions.
All of that social activity has been good business for Kohl’s and other e-commerce outlets like Walmart.com, Target.com and ToysRUs.com, where the mask is sold out.
A Kohl’s spokesperson confirmed the sales spike late Friday with CNBC:
“We have received an overwhelming amount of interest in the Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens Chewbacca Electronic Mask by Hasbro since Candace posted her funny and lighthearted video,” a Kohl’s spokeswoman told CNBC. “The mask is currently sold out on Kohls.com.”
The viral video might be a boon for third-party sellers on Amazon.com, where the mask — which has a $29.99 suggested price — is currently listed for anywhere from $120 to $213.
Social media wins, too
Payne’s video has also been a boon to Kohl’s on social media. On Friday, a day after the video was posted, Kohl’s delivered more Chewbacca masks — and a bunch of other Star Wars toys, along with $2,500 in gift cards — to Payne’s home. That tweet has more than 6,700 likes so far and has been retweeted about 2,700 times.
Kohl’s also posted a video of the toy delivery on YouTube, which has earned more than 70,000 views so far.
According to data from Amobee Brand Intelligence, digital content engagement related to Kohl’s increased 101 percent from May 18 to May 22, when compared to the previous five days. On Saturday and Sunday, Amobee says 48 percent of Kohl’s digital engagement was Chewbacca-related.
And Payne’s video wasn’t just good news for Kohl’s; Amobee says Amazon, Walmart and Toys “R” Us also saw big gains in online engagement related to the Chewbacca mask.