Air Swimmers was one of the hottest toys in the U.S. last year, and yet the company behind it didn’t spend a dime on advertising. Instead, Mark Forti, founder and CEO of the William Mark Corporation, filmed a gag reel about the surprising ways that people could actually use Air Swimmers--those remote controlled inflatable sharks or Nemo-fish--and uploaded it to YouTube. In one shot, the nimble mini-floater exits an elevator in a crowded office building trailed by an operator in full scuba gear. In another, the shark looms over a cat hunting a smaller fish in a fishbowl, scaring the bejesus out of it. Forti sold millions of the $40-dollar toys as a result of his YouTube antics, but he’s more interested in his view count: It’s at nearly 9 million and counting. "I’m a millionaire in the attention economy," he says.
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