For those older than 22, think of life for a Gen-Zer as The Truman Show. Their lives are basically reality shows with much shorter segments being streamed in multisecond bursts to their friends, peers, and strangers on social media. Because of this, any moment — no matter how mundane — has viral potential. Take “The Dress” for example: A simple question — blue and black, or white and gold? — sent the Internet into a tizzy. Simple conversations or photos also become memes, such as, “What are thooooose?” that saw kids pointing to people’s shoes and asking that question. Teenage boys are especially prime for Internet fame, such as #AlexFromTarget. And now, “Damn, Daniel” is captivating the World Wide Web.
The origin story of “Damn Daniel” is this: Daniel Lara, a young man with fresh style (a navy blue hoodie, skinny chinos, a burgundy backpack, and slip-on sneakers) was recorded walking by his friend, who put the video on Vine. The videographer added commentary, repeating, “Damn, Daniel” over and over again. The narrator also added, “Back at it again with the white Vans!” Posted on February 15 by @josholzz on Twitter, it has since been retweeted 270,000 times and hearted 340,000 times. It has also been looped on Vine nearly 2 million times.
The video is a supercut of Lara’s slick style, and his most notable staples are the knapsack and sneakers. The original white canvas Vans can be purchased on vans.com for $45, and there eBay sellers seeking to capitalize on the sensation by placing listings for “damn daniels white vans.” There are more than 250 of them, and one has a high bid of $300,700. Another, with 127 bids, has reached $60,100.
Just as they have with its viral predecessors, brands have attempted to capitalize on the sensation with marketing ploys. Vans obviously jumped on the bandwagon, sharing a video of a bear throwing paint over the white slip-on shoes, with the words, “When you’re done getting ‘back at it with the white Vans’…” The company also posted a poll, which drew about 150,000 votes.
— DSW Shoe Warehouse (@DSWShoeLovers)February 22, 2016
— Forever 21 (@Forever21)February 22, 2016
— Clorox (@Clorox)February 18, 2016
DSW, Forever21, Clorox, and other brands got in on the action as well.
— Vans (@VANS_66)February 19, 2016
While making money from a meme might be tough business, becoming an Internet sensation only requires a cellphone — and, apparently, cool shoes.