Jack Jones has shot to stardom, 21st Century-style. The democratisation of fame through the growth of social media has led to a diverse generation of young creators with huge audiences of young fans; from fashion and beauty vloggers, to gamers, singers and comedians. Jack Jones is one of the biggest success stories of the latter category, with his videos of pranks and various other mischievous exploits having generated over 2.8 million likes on his Facebook page and counting. In August, Jack signed a deal with multi-channel network Rightster.
Earlier this year, Jack caught the attention of the national newspapers when took his brand of public pranking to the US. As Jack filmed himself getting into a stranger’s convertible that was waiting at a traffic light, the driver pulled a gun on him. He’s been punched a few times, too. These pranks might not have been successful in the conventional sense but they were viral gold and increased his audience even further.
While some of his more ‘laddish’ videos have drawn fair comparisons to the infamous Dapper Laughs, Jack points to his ‘Making People Smile’ videos as the ones he’s most enjoyed making. Alongside the pranks is another side of Jack Jones TV which has seen him feeding the homeless, handing out umbrellas in the rain and paying for an elderly woman’s taxi fare.
We spoke to Jack to find out more about the young social star, the perils of being a bit of a nuisance for a living, and the ways he’s been working with brands and monetising his craft.
What do you consider your job title to be? – Vine star, YouTuber, comedian, prankster?
Prankster – this is my job. I must admit when people ask me what I do for a living, I then get funny looks.
You must be a busy guy at the moment. What’s a day in the life of Jack Jones like these days?
Have you seen my Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Vines and Snapchats? So making material for my channels is my priority. Increasingly though I have been invited on to co-host radio shows on BBC Radio 1Xtra and also the BBC Asian Network which I am really enjoying.
Vine pranksters are proving to be quite like Marmite – what do you have to say to those who aren’t into it?
Eat Jam! (Jack laughs). I really enjoy making people smile and if you check out all my social media it demonstrates that I reach out to many different people – young, old and right across the social spectrum.
Dapper Laughs obviously proved to be quite controversial with his ITV show. Have you learnt from his mistakes (especially around sexism and lad culture) and put boundaries around how far you’d go and what can be offensive?
In my family we have been taught to treat people how you’d like to be treated yourself. It’s a simple but pure philosophy that I keep in mind at all times.
You have quite a few likes on Facebook! How quickly did that happen, and does it feel weird that so many people know who you are?
It’s incredible – I feel blessed. It’s 2.8m and rising every day. It’s just great to know that you can connect with so many people on the same level. It is pretty crazy really but I just enjoy what I do and I hope that shines through.
I’m having so much fun creating all the time and seeing people’s reactions and then checking out the responses, shares and likes. It’s truly a humbling experience. What touched me most though is when fans out there hit me back with messages of support, telling me that loved ones in poor health, stuck in hospital, facing difficult times have been watching my videos etc., and that the fun stuff we have created helps make them smile during those testing times. I’m like ‘wow’…as I said it’s truly humbling.
A couple of the videos you made in America got pretty real. Did you find the public over there reacted to you differently, or do you get in a lot of trouble here as well?
Americans are much louder, so it came as a bit of a shock. However, saying that they’re also really cool people too, their reactions are much faster, they don’t take any crap.
It takes a lot of bottle to do what you do. But some of those reactions must have been terrifying! How do you handle it?
If someone really doesn’t want to be pranked then obviously I respect that and if it goes wrong then I guess I need to live with that. However, I always inform people after the prank that it was just for fun and they usually understand.
What type of work have you done with brands so far?
In the summer we did a great partnership with Pepsi Max at a dance music event, where we created the Jack Jones Entourage, which enabled the fans at the event to upgrade their experience. It was a great collaboration and the video was a massive hit with my followers. It generated 2.5 million views in one week on Facebook and 680,000 on Pepsi Max’s YouTube channel.
We have also worked with a major online betting brand as well.
How does the commercial side of brand partnerships work? What’s the process? From a brand safety perspective, do you find some of your material makes it difficult for advertisers? Would you compromise what you do to partner with brands?
I simply love connecting with people and I’m guessing that some of these brand executives are enjoying my material too. For me, it’s important that Jack Jones TV consistently delivers what made them hit click, like etc. in the first place and keep on producing what’s made it what it is on social media today. So I’m more than happy to work with brands that can support what I’m about and collaborate in producing some great entertainment to keep the world smiling, Jack Jones style.
What are your plans for the future? Is the dream to get on television?
There are so many plans and increasingly I have been hit up with an array of exciting opportunities so I guess watch this space. I’m super excited about really developing my YouTube channel and working on something cheeky for a live tour too.