‘Charlie bit me’ equals cash

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CBS News

Posted on October 23, 2012 at 10:36 AM

NEW YORK -- The stars of the YouTube video “Charlie Bit My Finger - Again!” are back after five years, cashing in on their now famous catchphrase.

In the YouTube age, every family video is a business opportunity, especially what is probably the most famous family video of all—the one that stars Harry Davies-Carr and his baby brother Charlie, and produced the memorablel line: “Charlie bit me.”

As enduring lines from the movies go, “Charlie bit me” may not be “We’re not in Kansas anymore” from “The Wizard of Oz,” or “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn” from “Gone with the Wind,” but having been viewed almost half a billion times in the five years since the video was released, it’s become the catchphrase for a lucrative “Charlie Bit My Finger” family business, guided by the boys’ father, Howard Davies-Carr. The boys’ father told CBS News, “We have never gone out to find income from it, it’s just things have come along and people have suggested things and we have taken them up on that.”

Now aged 8 and 6, Harry and Charlie may seem a little bored with celebrity. Asked about their recent Ragu commercial, Charlie said, “Oh, the Ragu advert. Not fun at all.”

Harry added, “About six hours for only 32 seconds (of commercial time).”

But they still know what they’re there for. Some things never change. Charlie can now say, “I know an exciting part, biting Harry’s finger.”

The success of “Charlie Bit My Finger” is reflected in download numbers and t-shirt sales. What is harder to understand, is why. Howard Davies-Carr weighed in on the draw of the video and said, “I think it is the whole scene. You do not need to understand a language to watch it. People keep coming back to it, it is something which just seems to capture so many emotions and things going on. There is something there for everybody.”

That apparently includes big brands looking for new angles. Nothing sells like “cute,” according to media critic Barbara Lippert, of MediaPost.com. “There is a big future in advertising mining social media and mining YouTube,” she said. “The problem is if it gets overused then it’s just another fad that people get sick of.”

Brotherly rivalry has sold as an idea since Cain and Abel. But who’s the star here, the biter or the victim?

Harry said, “Everyone knows it’s me, because it has to be me, because I’m the one that put the finger there and there again.”

Charlie said, “If I did not bite it, you would not be famous.”

Harry replied, “But you were a little child and you didn’t know what you were doing.”

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