#BBCtrending: Pharrell's hit video inspires 1,000 re-makes

Pharrell performing live at the oscars Pharrell's performance at this year's Oscar ceremony

A project to track fan-made versions of Pharrell Williams' hit video "Happy" reveals that the number of tributes to the song has now passed 1,000 across the globe.

The original video was released last November and became an immediate sensation - it's been viewed over 150 million times on YouTube. Its simple message, and low-fi footage of ordinary people dancing as they go about their business, make it ideal for amateur re-makes.

A French couple - designers Loic Fontaine and Julie Fersing - were stunned by the number of people creating their own versions, but understood its appeal. They began adding them to WeAreHappyFrom.com, a site they made to showcase the huge number of videos being made. "One of the fundamental things about the project is that it's not commercial, religious, or political. It's just a message to say 'we are happy, we are happy'," Fontaine told BBC Trending.

The same principles apply to the videos that appear on the site - and so the number does not include some of the better known versions which have explicit political messages. Earlier this week, for example, a group in Brazil created "Porto (un)Happy" which aimed to highlight the poor conditions in Porto Alegre, one of the cities that will host the World Cup just three months from now.

Girls dancing by construction works This scene from Brazil shows unfinished construction work in the city of Porto Alegre

A map on Fontaine's site shows the location of each video - including 170 from France alone, 98 from Germany, and 13 from the UK. This week the 1,000th video was added, and the total currently sits at 1,032. Launched at the end of January, the couple thought the trend would last for a month at most. Between 20 and 40 new versions are added to the site each day, and the rate shows no sign of slowing.

World map covered in black dots An interactive map shows where the videos have been shot

Have you subscribed the BBC Trending podcast? You can do so here via iTunes or here

All our stories are at BBC.com/trending

More on This Story

Videos from BBC Trending

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • Audi R8Best in show

    BBC Autos takes a look at 10 of the most eye-catching new cars at the 2015 Geneva motor show


  • A cyborg cockroachClick Watch

    The cyborg cockroach – why has a computer been attached to this insect’s nervous system?

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.