Ohio University freshman engineering student Logan Paul had a special assignment for Super Bowl XLVIII: Inspire viewers to #GetHyped for the Pepsi Halftime Show.
Logan Paul, an industrial and systems engineering student at the Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ College of Engineering and Technology, has picked up 3.2 million followers on Vine, a mobile app where users create and share looping six-second videos on a public feed, like Instagram but with videos instead of photos.
With his immense following and prankster style, he was chosen by Pepsi for a Vine-based advertising campaign with two other Vine gurus to promote the halftime show featuring Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers on Feb. 2.
The company also flew the Viners out to New York City to work their live "Pepsi Halftime Supervine” event.
“We drove the Pepsi bus to the big Apple store in the city, a band led us out and we basically had a miniature party on the streets of New York,” said Paul, a native of Westlake, Ohio.
Aside from his recent work with Pespi, Vine users can catch Paul dancing, falling off of treadmills, pulling pranks and performing a wide range of successful and unsuccessful stunts. He also plays recurring characters in his Vines, including a “college safarist” who explores humans in a higher education habitat until he is “spotted.”
Despite his success in social media, Paul said his creative process is far from an exact science.
“I rarely sit down and brainstorm ideas” Paul said. “Most of them just come to me from out of nowhere, then I think about how I can add a little touch to the idea that will make it a ‘next-level’ Vine.”
Paul reached the next-level of popularity within just a few weeks of arriving at Ohio University, when he reached 1 million followers and celebrated with a “super Vine,” a series of four Vines that included Bobcat mascot Rufus and crowdsurfing on College Green.
Within two months, his followers more than doubled, and he was booked for an appearance over Thanksgiving break on the Today Show, which gave him rights to take over the show’s Vine account for the morning. During the appearance, he shot Vines with OHIO alum Matt Lauer, BSC ’97, actor and “Old Spice Guy” Terry Crews, and the show’s prominent Vine contributor and weatherman Al Roker.
“The whole experience was crazy but so much fun,” he said. “They flew me out and paid for everything. On Sunday night, I looked up at the buildings and it hit me that I was in the city of New York on a school night to appear on national television the next morning.”
The 6 million views of his YouTube video “Logan Paul Vine Compilation, Episode 1” also helped him cross over to mainstream recognition. Shortly after the video went viral in November 2013, MTV, Comedy Central and College Humor all reached out to him to pursue new content ideas.
“Apparently they liked what they saw and thought there's more than just short form content potential,” he explained. “I was pretty surprised that they decided to reach out after only seeing 3 minutes of me.”
Although it may go against some engineering stereotypes, Paul said he is pursuing industrial and systems engineering because it allows him to use his creativity in a practical way.
“I enjoy improving systems, making things better, or as I like to say, taking it to the next level, like my Vine style,” he explained. “There's a lot that I could do with an ISE degree.”
“I'd create a product that makes people's lives easier or improves the standard of living. I'm always thinking of new ideas and inventions, but I don't know how to make them happen. An ISE degree will give me the skills necessary to do so,” Paul said. “Then, I'll be able to develop a marketing campaign.”
Associate Professor Dale Masel, one of his teachers and advisor to the Engineering Ambassadors group of student leaders in the Russ College, said Paul shows his serious side in class, and his creativity will be an advantage when he goes out into the real world.
“Professionally, an ISE typically has to work with people from a variety of backgrounds: workers on the factory floor, peers on a project team, company executives, and outside customers and clients,” Masel said. “Logan's ability to be both professional and fun, depending on what the occasion calls for, gives him multiple ways to connect with the people he's working with and get their support for what he's doing.”
Paul already does his fair share of collaborations, often with other popular content contributors in their own right. Two include Jerome Jarre and Amymarie Gaertner, one of the other SuperBowl Viners whose 2 million followers watch her perform six-second dance routines she choreographs to popular music.
Despite their youth, Gaertner, who is 19, and Paul, 18, are both thinking long-term about how to extend their brands beyond Vine. Paul said he has a handful of big things in the works right now.
“For now, I'd like to keep them a secret,” he said. “I'm not sure where each one will go, and I don't want to speak too soon, but I can definitely reiterate that I'm extremely excited. I've essentially sold myself, the ’Logan Paul’ brand on social media, and I'm constantly learning more and more about how to accentuate my current audience and build on my success.”