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Facebookers seeing giraffes after Kiwi’s riddle challenge goes viral

Nov 6th, 2013 | By | Category: Arts/Entertainment, Latest News, News

A FORMER Tawa man said he was astonished by the success of a Facebook giraffe craze he started.

Thailand-based Andrew Strugnell, 24, created the Great Giraffe Challenge, which involves changing your Facebook picture to a giraffe if you get a riddle wrong.

As of Monday, The Great Giraffe Challenge Facebook page had 142,000 likes and Facebook users all over the world had changed their avatars to giraffes.

Mr Strugnell said he was blown away by the success of his game.

“I guess the best word to describe it is surreal,” he said.

“It has blown up something crazy. I can’t believe this is happening right now.”

The madness began when he shared a Facebook post, Mr Strugnell said.

“I shared the riddle on Facebook that a friend from New Zealand had posted,” he said.

“After 80 friends commented and liked the post I thought, ‘Heck, I’ll make a Youtube video’.”

That Youtube video had been viewed more than 600,000 times by Monday.

International news media have been in touch with the young New Zealander.

“I would never have expected to see my face on websites such as CNN, Time and the Huffington Post,” he said.

Mr Strugnell, who was born in South Africa and moved to New Zealand when he was 5, was surprised that some media had labelled him Australian.

“I am a proud Kiwi through and through.”

His parents still live in Tawa.    “They are both in their 60s and it has been really hard trying to explain to them the enormity of what has happened on the internet.”

For the first three days after the video was posted, he received 1000 emails a day from those trying to solve the riddle.

“I spent hours on the first two nights just messaging people back.

“We ended up with over 26,000 Facebook messages that needed a response, so we set up a website.”

Mr Strugnell moved to Thailand early this year and found a job with video upload website CitizenTV.

His Youtube channel Strugsnotdrugs had more than 5000 subscribers.

He said he had plenty of ideas of what to do next with the Great Giraffe Challenge.

“Unofficially we have created the Great Giraffe Challenge Company.”

He and eight friends intended to post a riddle each week on the website, which has been making a profit.

He said they were planning T-shirts, an iPhone app and music videos.

To see the riddle, go to

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is a Whitireia journalism student covering Porirua, Titahi Bay, Mana and Plimmerton. He has a BA in History and Political Science from Victoria University.
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