“In these dark times at least we have Mufasa”
When days blur and optimism is scarce, Mufasa and his hype man are here to cheer you on, reminding you that we made it — it’s Friday.
Still a relative hidden internet gem, the infectious smile and dance moves of Mufasa, an up and coming internet celebrity bordering meme, are sure to put anyone in a better mood. His videos and vibes have become a remedy for millions as of late, delivering absurd elation and necessary positivity.
Now regularly posting across social media under the @cousinkeether handle, Mufasa’s personal brand is “Good energy only.” He’s become the antidote to our pandemic woes and lockdown blues.
As one commenter puts it, “Guys I think we’ve just found the cure for depression.” Another, “This man is the cure to Coronavirus.”
While Mufasa was gaining traction pre-lockdown, his stardom is here.
I had the pleasure of speaking with the deity himself who’s noted a significant spike in viewership and engagement since the pandemic struck. He’s up nearly 300,000 new followers on Instagram.
Currently living in Virginia, not a tropical island as his iconic shirt and style may suggest, Jeff Obeng’s video career began in 2018.
When he first danced alongside a car to Cardi B’s “Drip”, and the Grammy-winning artist posted the video to her own Instagram, he realized he had lightning. But while trying to replicate the video with other songs, and not finding the same success, Jeff found himself in a slump.
One night outside a McDonalds catching up with CT Moody AKA Hypeman, Jeff asked him to do exactly that, filming a new video on the spot. Jeff shares, “The combination of him hyping me through the music and me dancing, I knew we had something good, but it wasn’t until our second video that we started catching viewers, attention and momentum.”
Mufasa’s cumulative views are now pushing into the millions and he’s beginning to work alongside brands including FootLocker and ASOS. His now iconic “Obang” dance move has been seen on NBA courts and a Super Bowl field. Steve Harvey is beginning to consistently tweet his videos out. Mufasa’s a ripe influencer.
In 2019 alone, 380 new influencer marketing-focused agencies and platforms were developed, valuing the influencer economy at $9.7B for 2020. Whether or not this market is rattled by shrinking budgets, the number one reported challenge in this business remains “finding influencers.”
With countless profiles to choose from, teaming up with Mufasa now appears questionable. Who is this dancing guy?
The real challenge agencies are facing is that they’re too preoccupied with who they’re partnering with, meticulously scouting moms for CPG brands, athletes for equipment, and models for beauty products. It’s all too on the nose.
Instead, they should be examining what an individual embodies and how that personality can map to their brand, despite explicit background. Focused on merely pushing SKUs, brands could and should be delivering something more meaningful and sought after: emotion.
Mufasa is a spirit, something that brands must manufacture in order to appear humanistic and likable. Mufasa is not a sneakerhead or fashionista — he’s a guy that makes people happy. “Influence” doesn’t get more literal.
In discussing business opportunities, Jeff states, “[My] brand has the ability to change a person’s mood and it’s very important for [their brand] to put out the right energy.” He continues, “If my video can uplift at least one person every time I post, then I’ve done my job as an influencer.”
Robert Svigals, a real-estate professional and golfer from New York follows and shares Mufasa’s videos on a weekly basis with friends. “He makes me laugh, and I like knowing that sending his links can also cheer up my friends. His energy is contagious. I can’t wait to see what he does next.”
Mufasa’s audience demographics and interests are moot. He influences anyone.
As brands look to swoon consumers “during these dark, unprecedented times”, sigh, perhaps support or hope is not what they need. Rather it’s a quick laugh and toe tap.
And just maybe, some guy named Mufasa from Virginia is your brand’s savior.