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Teen Does Back Flip in WheelChair: HowStuffWorks.com
By: Jeff Louis
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How does White Collar crime work? What if the safety harness on the roller coaster broke? What are 10 inventions we use daily that were first used at NASA? How does WiFi operate? Who is Aaron Fotheringham?

Aaron Fotheringham is the seventeen year-old athlete featured in HowStuffWorks.com's online and television ad campaign in support of the popular website. The spots have been released on YouTube and will also be seen on TV starting this week. And, it's not who Aaron is; it's what he does:


Aaron, born with spina bifida and dubbed Wheelz, lives in Las Vegas, Nevada (which may play a part in his penchant for taking risks). One day, while his brother and friends were dropping into empty swimming pools on skateboards and BMX bikes, his brother suggested that he "drop in." Although nervous, Aaron took his first "wheelchair drop" into the pool.

He's now known as the inventor and pioneer of an extreme sport called "Hardcore Sitting" and competes in BMX racing. Against cyclists.

He's been competing alongside BMX bikers since 2005 and has more than 10 corporate sponsors. He won the trophy at the BMX Intermediate Vegas AmJam 2005 Finals and spends about 30 to 40 hours per week practicing the sport he invented.

In mid-2006, Aaron became the first person in history to complete a back flip in a wheelchair. On Halloween, 2008, Guinness Book of World Records certified Aaron as the sole inventor and performer of the wheelchair back flip. No one has duplicated his feat. There is a section on HowStuffWorks.com devoted to Aaron Fotheringham and his journey.

Along with the sponsorships, the accolades, and the TV appearances, he's launched a website, AaronFotheringham.com, and was awarded $20,000 by the FOX reality TV show "Secret Millionaire." The money will help form a company that teaches other children in wheelchairs the sport of Hardcore Sitting.

This is the second ad campaign HowStuffWorks.com has launched and builds upon the highly successful “Scuba Cat” campaign launched this time last year. The new campaign also features a skydiving car, with both video spots centered around the theme of “Keep Asking.” The spots ask all types of questions, along with a voice-over, "For expert answers to the world's great questions, go to HowStuffWorks.com." The tagline "Keep Asking" demonstrates the ability to utilize a single execution to capture a full range of emotions and tackle a wide array of topics.

Preston Kelly, headquartered in Minneapolis, provided the creative juice that powers the campaign.


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About the Author

Jeff Louis: Media Planner, Brand Project Manager, blogger, and aspiring writer. Please leave a comment or get in touch with Jeff on Twitter. As always, thank you for reading!

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