"Viral Video Genius" Nalts, well known in the online video world as one of YouTube's most prolific viral video creators and YouTube comedians, led two separate lives until last week, when the two worlds recently collided and he was outed as a Consumer Product Director at Merck, where he marketed Propecia. Kevin Nalty had kept his day job private from his viral video fame offering only a vague reference in his online bio that he was a "Consumer Product Director at a Fortune 100 company."

But as Liz Gaines noted on Thursday in her scoop on Nalts, "he thought he could keep the viral video world and the day job separate," she said. "However, a recent MediaWeek story about product placement on YouTube mentioned Nalty's employer, and that garnered some attention in the pharma blogging world. So on Thursday of last week, he quit his job and became a full-time online video marketer."

Nalts made the following announcement on Twitter:

Nalts has left his job as Marketing Director of Merck to pursue his passion for online video and social media with FULL force! :)

A few weeks ago when the MediaWeek article broke the news that Nalts actually worked for Merck, Jim Edwards commented on the pharmaceutical industry BNET Pharma Blog, that Nalts' dual identity, "Seems harmless — most of his stuff is for kids. The reason it's interesting is that the drug industry is so buttoned-up it's surprising Merck hasn't sent him a stiffly worded HR memo."

However, Nalts told NewTeeVee via email,

"Merck knew about Nalts before they hired me. But as Nalts grew, it became harder to keep 'low profile.' I went to great lengths to keep them separate because I didn't want my goofball antics to reflect poorly on a company focused on health and medication…The fact that Merck was recently being unfairly linked to me and fart videos was the 'straw that broke the camel's back.'"

He posted the above video on his blog which helps explain the inspiration behind his decision.

"Last night Katrina Darrell sang Mariah Carey's 'Treated Me Kind' on American Idol 2009. Her song inspired me to quit the full-time job as a Product Director at Merck", he said. "Now it's full-time to follow my passion: making videos, working with Hitviews, and starting my own consulting practice that will help brands engage in social media, especially the most visceral kind: online video. Stay tuned next week for more details."

A top-10 "most subscribed" YouTube comedian Nalts has created more than 800 short videos that have been viewed on online-video sites more than 73 million times, and include the popular "Farting in Public," which was featured by YouTube has been viewed more than 7 million times. He and his online videos have won numerous awards, and have appeared on CNN, ABC, BBC, Fox and CBS News. He speaks, writes and consults in the area of online marketing and viral video and has a page in his web site for information if you'd like to hire Nalts.

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Nalts also just turned 40 a few weeks ago and as he makes this change from a dual identity to a full-time online video and marketing practice he offered these reflections,

"Gotta do what you love, and trust the money to follow. Should have listened to that advice right out of school. Not too late for some of you. Full steam ahead in video "entertaining," and helping brands engage in social media and video... via Hitviews and via my own consulting firm to be announced next week! Seriously- thanks so much for watching and subscribing, since I couldn't afford to do this without some income from the ads you watch."

While many have commented that this may just be stunt pulled off by a master comedian, like doing a prat fall at a Streaming Media conference panel session just to gain attention, I think he's playing for keeps. Like anyone in the public eye he has his fans and detractors but from his friends and fans in the online video community there's been an outpouring of support.

All the best to you Kevin "Nalts" Nalty! We're all rooting for you!

This post was written by our friend - Larry Kless... Thanks Larry!

Note from Publisher ;-) Maybe Nalts has it right - time to start thinking seriously 'bout that.

  • http://www.reelseo.com/mark/ Mark Robertson

    @Nalts - How about Awesome Arizona Thunder Monkeys

    [youtube GMprzsiFREs http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GMprzsiFREs youtube]

  • http://www.reelseo.com/mark/ reelseo

    Didnt take Nalty long to land on his feet - Congrats again

    Kevin Nalty Appointed Chief Strategy Officer, HITVIEWS

    HITVIEWS, the first company to recognize the power of online WebStars to generate positive business results for brands, signs Kevin Nalty as its Chief Strategy Officer. He will be responsible for continuing HITVIEWS' aggressive entry into the marketplace. Sales tactics, marketing rollouts, public relations and industry relations will be his responsibility.

    Mr. Nalty has an unusual perspective on the power of online video entertainment. In addition to a career focused on digital marketing, he also is a WebStar. Performing as "Nalts" he has produced and starred in over 800 videos. His videos have been seen more than 73 million times, and aired on networks like CNN, ABC, BBC, and Fox.

    "Listening to Kevin Nalty talk about the power of online video marketing is inspiring to our clients and prospective clients. He has extraordinary marketing experience at the highest corporate levels working for the most demanding clients. HITVIEWS is very lucky to have his leadership." Says Walter Sabo, CEO and co-founder of HITVIEWS.

    Kevin Nalty recently left his position at Merck to pursuit his passion for online video entertainment. Having blogged about the online video space for three years at willvideoforfood.com, and vastly published in the areas of online-marketing, he helped create the public's fascination with user-generated content, which can be found on over thirty-five websites. He will continue to make his unique, compelling videos for his dedicated fans.

    As "Nalts" he has integrated messaging within his video shows for brands such as Fox Television network, Reader's Digest and Microsoft - all through HITVIEWS. His Reader's Digest video is one of the most-viewed Hitviews videos of all time with approximately 700,000 views.

    Mr. Nalty's professional background also includes five years at Johnson & Johnson, where he led interactive marketing in the global communications group and helped develop the company's first policies and programs in social media. He was in charge of business development for KPMG Consulting, and worked in the first interactive agencies, including Qwest and Frontier Media Group. There he helped grow large accounts and strategy in online advertising, customer relationship management, and search-engine optimization. He has an undergraduate degree from Georgetown, and MBA in marketing and entrepreneurship from Babson College of Boston.

  • http://willvideoforfood.com/ nalts

    It's funny because I underestimated how many would think I was pranking on quitting. In part because I felt like many of my viewers don't really know I have a day job, and therefore wouldn't care much about me quitting. but the outpouring has been so encouraging. Yey the age of the independent consultants!

    • http://www.reelseo.com/mark/ reelseo

      Nalts - you're my hero right now... I really need to think about doing the same thing - the Day Job is not nearly as stimulating as this exciting online video marketing environment... Good luck to you sincerely - I only hope I can take the same leap of faith, except perhaps for the singing ;-)

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Klessblog Klessblog

      Congratulations Nalts for taking the bold step to follow your dream! Or as some may say your destiny... Congrats too on your new position with Hitviews. We won't hold being strategical against you!