KUALA LUMPUR: As prank videos go, Harvinth Skin’s much babbled-about gag clip is a little on the run-of-the-mill side (it’s less Ebola viral and more Athlete’s Foot bacterial).
The action is also piteously fleeting – dashing off and leaving the replay button behind before you’ve even had the chance to grab the popcorn.
The footage abruptly opens with Harvinth seated on a bench in the middle of a bustling JD Sports outlet, as a sales assistant named Martin reverentially unboxes and hands him a pair of sneakers so garish, Mandarin ducks look dowdy in comparison.
Harvinth swiftly slips the trainers on and springs to his feet, bouncing around to get a feel of the merchandise – as painfully-subservient, goody two-shoes Martin watches on nervously.
Suddenly, the prankster turns on his heels and (Usain) bolts away from Martin, right through the strangely tongue-tied RF security gates, and past a stoned security guard – looking for all the world like he’s sneaking away with the sneakers. (Wouldn’t want to be in Martin’s shoes at that point).
But here comes Martin, not 10 metres behind Harvinth, darting meekly after him with the shoes’ box firmly tucked in one arm (you almost expect him to scream: “Sir! You forgot to steal the box too!”).
Halfway down the crowded corridor, Harvinth does a 180-degree pivot, faces the store and tears back inside, as Martin stops in his tracks and stares open-mouthed. As Harvinth comes to a stop at the bench, hops in place and checks the shoes’ soles, it dawns on Martin, who flits back into the store with the broad smile of someone who’s just passed a kidney stone, that his utterly bonkers customer was simply test-driving the footgear.
The video ends with Harvinth casually taking a seat as Martin pats his chest with relief, and possibly in an effort to perform self-chest compressions amidst his full-blown heart attack.
Not exactly a Michael Bay(llywood) extravaganza, in which the shoes would explode 50 times (each); the camera would spin completely around Martin; and Harvinth would say “S**t just got real, yo.”
Nevertheless, since uploading the video to Facebook on Monday, Nov 24, Harvinth’s original video has been viewed over 21 MILLION times by global netizens. Digging deeper (something which usually gets me into trouble) I found at least five other iterations of the video, with one – re-posted by Sukan Star TV Press – boasting an astounding 41 MILLION hits. All the other clips have each raked in over 1 million views and counting.
With those kinds of numbers, Harvinth will never again have to PRETEND to buy sneakers – and indeed, after reportedly apologising to and hugging a still-breathing Martin, he bought the pair of kicks after getting his kicks.
And talk about having legs – the video has run to the other side of the world and back, gaining the notice of the Kardashian of websites like BuzzFeed and Digg – not to mention one of the bosses of Manchester-based JD Sports, who told Harvinth via Twitter to “stop scaring the staff.” (Here’s hoping Harvinth never has a run-in with him).
Oh, and if the JD Sports bosses are reading this – Martin is a shoe-in for a raise.