Entertainment

We Talked to the Guy Behind the Horrifying, Wonderful, Viral 'Duck Army' Vine

A Norwegian man's attempt to embarrass his girlfriend led to a video that in the space of two days went viral, then got stolen and reposted and went viral again.

by Scott Masters Pierce
Sep 1 2015, 3:10pm

On Sunday, a man named Charlie Murphy—no, not that Charlie Murphy—uploaded a video to Vine. It's been looped over 63 million times, so there's a good chance you've seen it, probably more than once; it's one of those clips that somehow doesn't lose its potency after five or ten or 20 plays.

Dubbed "Duck Army," it shows a hand pressing an inflatable toy duck in a bin, which emits a garbled quack-like noise. The hand then pushes down hard on a bunch of the ducks, and the resulting collective scream sounds like a million souls crying out in agony all at once, only filtered through a kazoo.

But Murphy is a mere aggregator—he just excerpted six seconds from a video made by Kevin Synnes, a 22-year-old mechanic from Ålesund, Norway. Naturally, we had a lot of questions for Synnes, so we asked him about the making of the video, the internet's response to it, and how he feels about someone else making it go viral.

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VICE: Where did you film this? Why were you there?
Kevin Synnes: My girlfriend and I were on a car trip to get a new engine for my car. I love old cars and fixing them. Sometimes, we have bad weather in Norway, so I had to stop at this store called Biltema to buy something to cover the engine on the trailer.

Kevin Synnes with his girlfriend, Elise Kårstad, moments after shooting 'Duck Army.' Image via Kevin Synnes

Then what happened?
We didn't find what we where looking for. But after a few minutes, we saw the ducks. They're dog toys, I think.

Do you think these are actually ducks or geese? This is a source of controversy...
I think they're really geese.

Why did you decide to push them—and film it?
I tried to embarrass my girlfriend by pressing one of the ducks. But I didn't get a reaction from her, really. So, I pressed all of them.

What were your reactions to the noise?
We were really shocked by the sound these ducks made! And my girlfriend got embarrassed.

Where did you upload the video first?
I sent this as a snap to my friends and I got a really good response. Luckily, I saved the video file, so I uploaded it to Facebook. I was expecting to get 30 to 40 likes out of it. Instead, it went viral in a few hours. Then, I uploaded it to YouTube and Instagram.

The video really went viral after a guy named Charlie Murphy uploaded to Vine. Have you contacted him? What's the deal there?
I've never done anything like this before, but I expected it to be stolen. Charlie has made people so interested in the video, so I can't be angry about that. But I hope he remembers who the original owner is. It was posted without permission from me and Viral Hog.

So, are you trying to get him to take his copy of the video down?
I understand Viral Hog has reached out to him. They asked me if they should get the video removed or if I wanted Charlie's version on the internet. We came to the conclusion that keeping it online was the best thing for the video.

Anything else you'd like to add?
I just hope the staff at stores around the world who sell toys like these will forgive me. I bet there are a lot of people trying to do the same thing as I did.

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