More than a year ago, Christian Van Vuuren, an account manager for outdoor company JCDecaux, found himself admitted to hospital with a hole in his lung. Further tests revealed he had a form of multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis, and was promptly placed in isolation in a Sydney hospital.
He spent 187 days there, an amount of time that would send the majority of us to the edge of insanity. To pass the time, Christian created parody rap music videos which went viral in no time, and in a matter of weeks he found him with thousands of fans on Facebook and hits on YouTube. It allowed him to stay connected with the outside world, for his audience to see life through his eyes and more importantly, to be entertained by his rhymes. He also parodied TV shows such as MTV cribs, and sometimes people tuned in because of just how bizarre his experience was and the content that came out of it.
Once he was released from hospital and the buzz died down, he found himself with an interesting dilemma. He could go back to ‘regular’ work, or try to use his new found public persona to continue down the path of content creation. Choosing the latter, he has teamed up with his brother, who doubles as a director, and has worked on a number of projects that keep the fully sick rapper persona close enough for people to remember (for the time being anyway).
Christian’s strategy differs from other YouTube stars, in that his rise to fame was inherently different. The driver of much of the involvement of people in his content was due to his unusual situation. Now his health is back to normal, his raps alone would no longer draw the audiences he was used to. He has since gone into branded content, working on campaigns for MTV, LG and most recently this flashback to his original genre in this campaign for a cough syrup brand.
Christian certainly has the motivation to succeed working tirelessly on a number of projects, and so far he’s continued to maintain his image as someone who was given a unique opportunity and is now making the most of it for the foreseeable future. As long as his content maintains his subtle self-deprecation and continues to be catchy and memorable, he will represent an attractive prospect for brands. The continuing quality of his content will play a key role along with how he positions himself as a brand ambassador. He certainly deserves recognition for the way he has capitalised on what was probably one of the most difficult chapters in his life by turning it into a positive one and emerging from the experience as a fine example of a young Australian entrepreneur.
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