April 8, 2009


By now you may have seen Mariko Takahashi's Fitness Video. I ran across this the other day via a link on buzzfeed. If youre on facebook you may have seen my link to it there. At the time, I really didn't even think to look further into it and find out more about what it was. I just figured it was another viral video done in a superbly subtle way, both for keeping your interest despite its length and its surreal attitude that never gets to a 'sell' and in doing so, makes it all the more interesting and buzzworthy because you're truly left scratching your head. It turns out that this wasn't made to be a viral video at all - it was created before YouTube even existed. It's a short film made for Panasonic's "Ten Short Films - Capture the Motion" series for the 2004 Olympics. Created by director Nagi Noda, whose commercial credits include spots for Nike and CocaCola, the film stars Mariko Takahashi, a Japanese 2005 World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships gymnast (for real) as a workout video host leading a group of poodles in exercise. Aside from that, the video is pretty much a straightforward workout video - and that's the part that makes it so surreal. I saw mention that it is a word for word takeoff of a Susan Powter video, but couldn't find any confirmation of that. Regardless, I think its shelf life is a testament to the strength of the concept and subtlety of execution, particularly the lack of any hard sell messaging, that made it a perfect viral video even before there was such a thing.
  • YouTube: Mariko Takahashi's Fitness Video
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