Chewbacca Mom hysteria is still flying high as the newest instant Internet viral sensation is honored by Hasbro.
The world first saw Candace Payne and her fun-loving attitude while she was in her car outside of a Texas Kohl’s. Right after purchasing that now famous Chewbacca talking mask, and making a seemingly simple video for her friends of her uncontrollable excitement, that video went on to break viewing records on Facebook and has in turn made tons of revenue for Facebook, Target, Kohl’s and Hasbro by creating a nationwide craze and sellout of those same masks. Target immediately showed gratitude by giving Candace a mega gift basket for her and her entire family.
— Hasbro (@HasbroNews) June 17, 2016
Candace Payne and her family were invited to visit the famed Hasbro headquarters in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. While she was there, she met Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner and was presented with the ultimate sign of viral success and respectful appreciation from the company: A custom-made action figure of her own, made in her (partial) likeness.
A custom 1:1 action figure; not made for mass production.
The figure features Candace Payne’s face on top of the “Star Wars” character’s furry body.
It also includes a removable Chewbacca mask and 13 catchphrases.
Ever since the release of her viral video and the way she’s spread her joy and laughter by playing with a Star Wars toy, Candace has made quite the celebrity name for herself now after 100 million+ views to her video. She’s been a guest of honor at the CMT Music Awards, thrown out the first pitch at a Tampa Bay Rays game, hung out with Pharrell and Stan Lee, and even appeared on national TV by carpooling with James Corden and Star Wars director J.J. Abrams (see video below).
At the same time, with fame comes critics and maybe even jealousy. One of the first major backlashes, of course, is the very video that made her famous. Either it was praised for the lighthearted exuberance felt by someone we all wish we could be friends with, or it was hated because the laugh annoyed them so it was not appealing to their taste of humor. The next ire came from pictures of Candace Payne asking $20 for autographs at a comic book convention. Certain people felt very offended to be competing for the same dollars by a person they deemed was not celebrity-worthy. Or people just felt she was now taking advantage of her instant fame and she would disappear any moment with other people’s money who want to meet her. The ones who did take monetary advantage of the system right away were not the Payne’s, but the people who sold the Chewbacca masks on Amazon for a $100 because of her video. Or the people who will now take her autograph and try to sell it on eBay.
Is there really any actual fundamental social issue here, or are people just jealous that this woman is getting so much fame and can make value from people putting demands on her time now? Is she taking advantage of the “system” by companies giving her things, only looking to tag along with the viral fame she created? Or is Candace Payne actually a very talented, undiscovered comedienne that could be described as lightning in a bottle? Chewbacca Mom’s short film was surprising, endearing, infectious and it is something people wanted to watch over and over. She does have a pretty good mix of one-liner humor and just the right ingredients that do make her funny. It’s not just a contagious laugh.
Payne also got to meet actor Peter Mayhew, the real man behind Chewbacca in the Star Wars films. At the fan expo, Candace had this to say about Mayhew…
“It’s hilarious, the fact that I’m here,” Payne said. “To just be able to see my name next to some of the names that they’re sitting next to. It literally made me laugh out loud. Y’all, I’m just as amazed as y’all are at this entire thing,” she said. “But I really do feel like there are some great things to come.”
Payne, an unemployed mother before all this, has said she’s using her platform to do good. At cons and expos, she’s selling autographs for $20 apiece which does help for her family expenses and she said money will go to charity as well. So far she’s been gifted $400,000 of gift cards/merchandise and is reported to have earned nearly $500,000 from business dealings, a visit to Disney and now having fun at the Hasbro headquarters.
Candace Payne didn’t ask for all this but she is having a great time nonetheless in her newfound fame and who knows how long it will last. I certainly don’t see Candace going away from the pop culture spotlight anytime soon as long as she creates an audience. Could you create the same audience for these companies and could you make them money like she has? Or is she taking advantage of some sort of system?
What do the pop culture fans really think? If PopCultHQ had a chance to interview Chewbacca Mom, would our fans want to see that? Let us know in the comments sections.
Watch as Chewbacca Mom Candace Payne selfie-videos getting her gift from Hasbro