Popping Popcorn with Cellphones

Popping Popcorn with Cellphones

Part of a series on Viral Videos. [View Related Entries]

Updated Jun 11, 2019 at 02:49PM EDT by Brad.

Added Jul 06, 2009 at 05:16PM EDT by Brad.

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Popping Popcorn with Cellphones is a viral video hoax which purportedly demonstrates how to cook popcorn by placing several cell phones around uncooked kernels, presumably as a result of concentrated exposure to cellular transmission. After several YouTube videos began circulating the web in 2008, the phenomenon was debunked as a viral marketing campaign for Bluetooth technology company Cardo Wireless.


The first video was uploaded to YouTube on May 28th, 2008 by YouTuber bobtel08.[1] The 30 second clip (shown below, right) shows a group of four people sitting around a table, with four cellphones arranged around a few popcorn kernels. When they dial the numbers of the cell phones on the table, the phones start to vibrate and the kernels can be seen popping off the table. A second 45 second clip (shown below, left) was uploaded the following day, with three people betting over whether or not it would work. As of July 2012, the clips have more than 10 million combined views.


On June 8th, 2008, the videos were shared on LaughingSquid[2], Hollywood Grind[11], food blog Serious Eats[12], and Gawker.[14] The following day, The Telegraph[15] and About.com[16] speculated on the videos’ authenticity while Wired[9] consulted physicist Louis Bloomfield, who debunked the possibility of the videos being real and likened the act to attempting to make popcorn pop with a group of opera singers. On the 10th, Good Morning America[13] unsuccessfully attempted the experiment on-air, reaffirming the notion that it is scientifically impossible to cook popcorn with cellphones.

Notable Examples

Despite the debunking of the hoax, many YouTubers have attempted the experiment themselves. As of July 2012, there are more than 2030 results for “popcorn with cellphones”[17] on YouTube.

Hoax Revealed

In June 2008, United States Bluetooth technology Cardo Systems launched a page titled “Pop,”[3] in which the company revealed that the videos had been staged by its employees as a viral marketing campaign. At the time of the company's announcement, the videos had been viewed 6 million times. The news of the campaign was broken by now defunct site Weberence[4] on June 12th, followed by Wired[5], Viral Blog[6] and Slate.[7] Internet legend repositories Snopes[8] and Truth or Fiction[10] have both disproved the videos with note of the campaign.

On October 28th, 2008, YouTuber MontyMetzger uploaded a video interview with the Cardo Systems CEO Dr. Abraham Glezerman about the campaign. He claimed the videos reached more than 18 million people and that the campaign improved its brand recognition more so than the sales revenue.

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