Grand Rapids LipDub Video Captures Worldwide Attention, Tops 1 Million Views

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City 'feels the love' from around the world as single-take lipdub video goes viral.

We might not be able to understand exactly what's being said in France and Hong Kong, but the common theme is 'we love this video and we love Grand Rapids.'

The Grand Rapids LipDub, a video created to promote Grand Rapids in response to recent negative publicity, hit the million-view mark on YouTube early Tuesday morning, less than five days after its release on May 26, and has now climbed past 1.3 million views.

“With over a million YouTube views over the weekend, worldwide media coverage, and links and posts popping up in Germany, Romania, Hong Kong and Italy, the viral spread is nothing short of epidemic,” remarked director and co-executive producer Rob Bliss of Rob Bliss Events.

Bliss, who collaborated with SEF video on production of the Grand Rapids LipDub, says the “David v. Goliath” message is resonating with people around the world. “We might not be able to understand exactly what’s being said in France and Hong Kong, but the common theme is ‘we love this video and we love Grand Rapids.’”

The LipDub, a 9:49 single-take lip-sync set to Don McLean’s “American Pie,” was produced to refute allegations made in a January 2011 Newsweek article that listed Grand Rapids as a “dying city.” The video features 5,000 Grand Rapidians, including a marching band, football team, kayakers, a wedding party, pillow fighters, fire fighters, police officers and the Mayor, along with some carefully orchestrated pyrotechnics and a helicopter send off.

“People who watch the video are very impressed by the enthusiasm and the level of community support we were able to capture,” said co-executive producer Scott Erickson of SEF video. “But they’ve also been amazed by the fact that this was done in a single take. At almost 10 minutes, it’s the longest LipDub on record. I think that’s captured people’s attention and encouraged them to share it with friends.”

Shot on Sun., May 22, the LipDub was released on YouTube at 4 p.m. (EDT), Thurs., May 26. By the next day, it was the 9th most viewed video on YouTube. The video hit the 1 million view mark at 6 a.m. Tuesday and is now competing for a spot in the top 10 highest-rated YouTube videos in the entertainment category.

“We aren’t surprised that people love the video and that it’s gone viral,” said sponsor relations director Jeffrey Barrett of Barrett Media & Design. “That was the aim of this project. We’re just surprised that it took off so fast. It made it around the globe in less than 24 hours.” Barrett was instrumental in developing the social media distribution strategy for the project.

With thousands of YouTube viewers and Facebook fans weighing in from places like New Zealand, Sweden, Austria, and Germany and coverage by mainstream and online media outlets worldwide—including Newsweek, itself—producers believe they’ve accomplished their mission.

“This is Grand Rapids’ official response to being labeled a dying city. We strongly disagree, and wanted to create a video that captures the passion and energy that is growing exponentially in this great city,” explained Bliss. “That message has come through loud and clear—in any language.”

The public can watch the video at and catch updates on how the video is trending as well as posts of worldwide coverage at

About the Grand Rapids LipDub:
The Grand Rapids LipDub Video was filmed in a single take on May 22nd. It involved 5,000 people and a major shutdown of downtown Grand Rapids, which was filled with marching bands, parades, weddings, motorcades, a bridge on fire, and a helicopter send off. It is the largest and longest LipDub video, to date. The video was created as an official response to a Newsweek article that labeled Grand Rapids a "dying city." The video’s producers—and citizens of Grand Rapids—disagreed and collaborated on a video that encompasses the passion and energy we all feel is growing exponentially, in this great city. The $40,000 production was entirely financed by the generosity of local sponsors.


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Jeffrey Barrett

Amy A. LeFebre
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