- Josh Pieters / YouTube
- YouTuber Josh Pieters tricked several influencers into thinking they’d received pieces of the moon from the National Space Centre.
- With the help of magician Archie Manners, Pieters sent out 40 boxes to British influencers under the guise of being a gift to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.
- Influencers like former British reality TV star Louise Thompson posted elated videos of themselves with their “moon rocks” on their social channels.
- Pieters told INSIDER he is technically an influencer himself (his YouTube channel has nearly 1 million subscribers), and he often gets sent “really arbitrary things.”
- “I just started to wonder is there anything you could send an influencer that they actually wouldn’t post about,” he said. “Then a moonrock seemed to be something that was so far fetched but also semi-believable, so I thought it would be funny to see whether influencers would actually post about it.”
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YouTuber Josh Pieters uploaded a video to his nearly 1 million subscribers on August 3, where he revealed how he tricked several influencers into thinking they’d received pieces of the moon.
Pieters and his friend, magician Archie Manners, packed 40 boxes containing a piece of gravel in a plastic container, a certificate of authenticity, and a note that said it was from the National Space Centre. Then, they sent them out to some British influencers under the guise of being a gift to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.
Most of them are current or former cast members of the E4 reality TV show “Made in Chelsea.”
- Josh Pieters / YouTube
Pieters told INSIDER the idea came about through “basic intrigue” into what influencers will actually post about. He said it was partly a prank for fun, and partly a social experiment to see whether influencers really check up on what they’re promoting.
“Obviously with me being technically an influencer myself, we do often get sent really arbitrary things, and I just started to wonder is there anything you could send an influencer that they actually wouldn’t post about,” he said.
“Then a moon rock seemed to be something that was so far fetched but also semi-believable, so I thought it would be funny to see whether influencers would actually post about it.”
The whole video took about 10 days to make, he said, including the creation, packing all the boxes, and hand-delivering a bunch of them.
“With these kind of videos if you put in the effort and work, sometimes it pays off,” Pieters said. One of his other recent videos shows him and Manners buying quails eggs from the supermarket in the hope of one of them hatching – and it does.
“It’s definitely that angle of ‘is that possible? Let’s test it out and see if it works,'” he said.
Almost nobody has seen an actual moon rock in real life before, Pieters said, so he thought it would be something relatively easy to fake. Although, a quick Google search would show you that a rock from the moon would be an incredibly generous free gift.
“To be completely honest I didn’t hold much hope for it,” said Pieters. “But we sent them out and of the first day of sending them, Louise Thompson did her first story, and her reaction to it was just brilliant. So then we sent out more boxes and got a few more.”
In an Instagram story, Thompson exclaims: “As if this is from the moon!”
“This is the coolest thing I’ve ever received in my life,” she said. “I have the moon in a jar.” Then she excitedly jumps up and down yelling “MOON!”
- Josh Pieters / YouTube
Among others tricked were current “Made in Chelsea” cast members Harry Baron and Sophie Habboo, beauty influencer Shazney Radley, and YouTuber Oli White.
White excitedly showed the camera his piece of “the moon,” in a video.
“No way do I actually have a piece of the moon,” he said. “Oh my gosh.”
“This is genuinely the most awesome gift ever,” Baron said in his story. “Thank you Space Centre, cheers guys.”
“I’ve basically got this, like, letter all about the moon and stuff,” said Radley, showing off what was in the box. While Habboo said it was probably “one of the coolest things I’ve ever had.”
— Josh Pieters (@joshua_pieters) August 3, 2019
Pieters said half of the influencers he sent boxes to were his friends, while the other half were picked more or less at random. So far, nobody has angrily called him out for it.
“Most of them seemed to take it really well, I’ve gotten messages from them afterwards saying, ‘ha ha you got me,” he said. “I’m sitting waiting for a horrible message but I haven’t received one yet.”
He added: “I’d probably have fallen for it to be honest.”
But when Pieters came clean to his friend and fellow YouTuber Jack Maynard, he was sent back a screenshot of a response from the real National Space Centre.
“Thanks for tagging us in your story,” the message said. “However, we don’t believe this ‘Moon Rock’ has come from us at the National Space Centre.”
The message continued, saying this was not an “official compliment slip” and “we are not sure who has sent this to you.”
It ended with asking Maynard whether he knew who sent it, and that the centre was “looking into” the matter.
“I’m sorry National Space Centre,” Pieters said at the end of the video. “But on the positive side, I think you got thousands of pounds of good promotion from our very special influencers who decided to promote the moon rock.”
You can watch the full video below.