Chewbacca Mom Makes Almost $500 Thousand In Gifts From Viral Video

By on June 13, 2016 in ArticlesEntertainment

The video of a giggly Texas Mom trying on a Star Wars Chewbacca mask has not only broken viewing records, but has resulted in some serious free swag from well-known companies.

In the video, Candace Payne cheerily describing a recent birthday present she purchased for herself from Kohl's: an electronic Star Wars Chewbacca mask that can make the famous wookiee growl.  After trying it on, Payne bursts into uncontrollable laughter for several minutes. Since being posted on May 19, the video has become the most-viewed Facebook Live video ever, with over 150 million views. It's also received over six million views on YouTube.

"I didn't expect to laugh that hard," Payne told NPR recently. "But I was looking at the phone videotaping it. I didn't think Chewbacca would look so happy!" The mom, who has since made a slew of appearances on late-night comedy shows and daytime talk shows, including Good Morning America and The Late Late Show, also didn't expect for the video to become so intensely popular. "Oh my goodness, I'm reeling. I don't know what to do," she exclaimed to NPR. "I'm like, 'Jesus, take the wheel!'"

Although feeling a little overwhelmed from all the media attention, Payne's hilarious video has made her a whole lot richer, thanks to generous gifts from several companies. According to Time, since posting her laugh-fueled video, Payne's received an estimated $420 thousand worth of gifts and other perks from Kohl's, Disney World, and more:

  • $3,000 from Kohl's: Payne gave Kohl's a whole lot of free publicity when she mentioned that she purchased the now sold-out Chewbacca mask there. To thank her, Kohl's gave her and her family a bunch of (what else) Chewbacca masks, a variety of toys and gifts, and $2,500 in gift cards.
  • $7,500 from Walt Disney World: You read it right – Payne and her family were treated to a Walt Disney World vacation over the Memorial Day weekend, including meeting Chewbacca himself! Time estimated the cost for the trip based on flight bookings, hotel stay packages, food, and theme park passes.
  • $7,500 for travel and talk show visits: Payne enjoyed complimentary flights, hotels, and tours, and even more gifts (Hasbro, who makes the mask, gave her an additional $2,500 gift certificate) while she appeared as a guest on a variety of talk shows in New York City and Los Angeles, which Time estimated to total $7,500.
  • $2,000 from Fan Expo Dallas Convention: According to Time, Payne and her family were given VIP passes to attend the Fan Expo Dallas Convention, where she will get to meet the original actor inside the Chewbacca costume and pose for selfies with Chewbacca Mom fans.
  • $400,000 from Southeastern University: One of the most epic gifts bestowed on the giggly mom was full college tuition scholarships for her and her family to the Southeastern University in Florida. "Candace has inspired us and other with her joy, and we want her and her family to experience some of that same joy through this gift," said Southeastern University President Dr. Kent Ingle to Time.

Not a bad pay day for a four-minute video.

Articles Written by Beth McDonald
Beth is a New England-based business and healthcare freelance writer. Prior to beginning her freelance career in 2015, she spent over six years as a business writer for a corporate valuation firm outside of Boston. Before that, she was editor-in-chief of her university student newspaper. When she's not writing, she's probably reading, hiking with her dog, or cleaning up after her latest DIY disaster. Follow Beth on Twitter.
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