Oobah Butler

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Oobah Butler
Born (1992-02-13) 13 February 1992 (age 27)
Feckenham, England
ResidenceLondon, England
OccupationWriter, filmmaker

Oobah Butler is an English best-selling author[1], journalist and filmmaker. He is best known for creating The Shed at Dulwich, the project he made for Vice Magazine where he made the shed he lived in the top-rated restaurant in London on TripAdvisor,[2] despite having never served a dish. In April 2019, his debut book How to Bullsh*t Your Way To Number 1 was published by Where Publications in America[3], as confirmed in a December 2018 interview with Forbes.[4] It became a #1 USA Today best-seller in humor in May 2019 and a Los Angeles Times #8 best-seller in July 2019.[1]

Biography[edit]

Butler began writing for Vice Magazine in October 2015 after successfully pitching an article in which he challenged himself to be a more successful door-to-door salesman than one of the Jehovah's Witnesses.[5] Over the next two years, he regularly contributed articles to Vice (including a story in which he created a "DIY sex robot" from household items and fruit[6]) and eventually started making short films that were shared on the site's social media channels. In April 2017, inspired by a belief he'd developed while being paid to write false positive reviews for restaurants on TripAdvisor years before,[7] Butler came up with an idea to try and get a restaurant that doesn't exist verified on the travel website. After making a website for his fake restaurant, The Shed at Dulwich, which featured plates of food created using household products including shaving foam and dishwasher tablets, and buying a phone,[8] it was officially accepted and listed on the site. From there, Butler spent six months asking friends to post fake reviews hoping to place the restaurant as high on TripAdvisor's list of 18,149 restaurants in London as possible. On November 1, 2017, the restaurant got to number 1 in the whole of London. It was open for one night on the 17th of the same month, serving ten guests including a couple from California thinly-disguised microwaveable meals. The customers are said to have been so blown away that some tried to book again.[9]

Following the release of both his article and documentary, How to Become TripAdvisor’s #1 Fake Restaurant, about the process, the story became a viral success. To date, Vice claims it has received 100m views worldwide.[10][11][12] Butler found himself at the centre of a media storm, appearing on popular television stations around the world.[13][14][15] The reactions to the story were diverse, with Singaporean parliament using it as a vehicle to inform new laws on fake news[16] and The Washington Post referencing Butler as "the Donald Trump of TripAdvisor".[8] After conducting many interviews, Butler became convinced that it didn't need to be him being interviewed. "Whether it's the segment on Brazil's Globo TV, or the hour-long documentary on Japanese TV, every interviewer has asked me the same questions about the shed. It's not really me being interviewed; what I did has some recognition, but I don't." he said.[17] From there he successfully sent different lookalikes of himself in his place to conduct interviews on Breakfast Sunrise in Australia, WION TV in India, NOVA television in Bulgaria and BBC Radio 2 with Vanessa Feltz (who was standing in for Jeremy Vine on his lunchtime show).[18] They all successfully passed as Butler, as documented in his film, I Sent Fakes of Myself to Be on TV Around the World.[19]

In June 2018, Butler released a third film entitled How I Faked My Way to The Top of Paris Fashion Week.[4] It was well received, being viewed over 30m times worldwide and being included in the official selection[20] at the 2018 LA Fashion Film Festival. He also received three awards in 2018 - one from the British Society of Magazine Editors for Best Content Idea 2018, Video Project of the Year from the British Media Awards, and another from the DRUM Agency for Content Creator of the Year 2018, which he sent a Norwegian stand-in to accept, and nobody realised. In December 2018, he announced his debut book How to Bullsh*t Your Way To Number 1 in an interview with Forbes.[4] After completing a Reddit Ask Me Anything shortly afterwards, the book shot to #1 on Amazon through pre-orders. On the date of the book's release, Oobah said in an interview with Robin Young on NPR that the book was less about success and more about helping people to not be inhibited.[21]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Bestsellers". LA Times. Retrieved 2019-09-02.
  2. ^ Low, Valentine (2017-12-07). "Prankster Oobah Butler tricks TripAdvisor into thinking his shed is London's best restaurant". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 2019-01-08.
  3. ^ "How To Bullsh*t Your Way To Number 1". How To Bullsh*t Your Way To Number 1. Retrieved 2019-09-11.
  4. ^ a b c "Trolling Fashion Week And TripAdvisor: Filmmaker Oobah Butler Shares Social Engineering Secrets". Forbes. Retrieved 2019-01-17.
  5. ^ Butler, Oobah. "I Went Door to Door to Find Out if Music is Harder to Sell Than Religion". Vice. Retrieved 2019-01-08.
  6. ^ Butler, Oobah. "I Tried to Sell My DIY Sex Robot at an Invention Convention". Vice.
  7. ^ Simon, Parkin. "The Never-Ending War on Fake Reviews". The New Yorker.
  8. ^ a b "'The Shed at Dulwich' was London's top-rated restaurant. Just one problem: It didn't exist". Washington Post. Retrieved 2019-01-08.
  9. ^ Butler, Oobah. "I Made My Shed the Top Rated Restaurant On TripAdvisor". Vice.
  10. ^ "How to Become TripAdvisor's #1 Fake Restaurant". YouTube.
  11. ^ "Oobah Butler". DMEXCO 2019. Retrieved 2019-01-08.
  12. ^ "I Made My Shed the Number One Restaurant on TripAdvisor". Facebook. Retrieved 2019-01-08.
  13. ^ "Jornalista põe restaurante falso no topo da lista dos melhores de Londres". Fantástico (in Portuguese). 2018-01-28. Retrieved 2019-01-08.
  14. ^ Good Morning Britain, The Fake Restaurant That Was London's Top Rated on Trip Advisor | Good Morning Britain, retrieved 2019-01-08
  15. ^ Sunrise (2017-12-09). "The Shed at Dulwich: Londoner Oobah Butler created a top restaurant in his shed on Trip Adviser. How much can you trust review websites?". @sunriseon7. Retrieved 2019-01-08.
  16. ^ "The Shed, London's Fake No.1 Restaurant, Just Got Debated By Lawmakers". Vice.
  17. ^ Butler, Oobah. "I Sent Fake Versions of Myself On TV and Everyone Fell for It". Vice.
  18. ^ "Fake restaurateur sends fake stand-ins for TV interviews". The Guardian. 2018-10-17. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-09-11.
  19. ^ Butler, Oobah. "I Sent Fakes of Myself to Be on TV Around the World". Vice.
  20. ^ Barkway, Florence. "How I Faked My Way to The Top of Paris Fashion Week". LA Fashion Film Festival. Retrieved 2019-01-17.
  21. ^ "Internet Prankster Oobah Butler Faked It Until He Made It". WBUR. Retrieved 2019-09-11.