Philadelphia, PA - It was the crunch heard around the world! A video taken at Philadelphia Zoo has grown to become the biggest Reel in the history of Philadelphia - and top ten for most viewed Reel on the Instagram platform since Reels started - and top five for most viewed new Reels in 2022.

The video also holds the record for the most viewed and largest video in Philadelphia on the TikTok platform. Influencer Philly Publicist and Aversa PR President/CEO Kory Aversa took the video last year during Boo at the Zoo, and it went viral on TikTok immediately. One year later, as pumpkin and spooky season approaches, he posted it again on August 16th, and it has raked up a jaw-dropping 171M views in just three weeks - and it is still averaging one to three million views a day. It has garnered 5.4M likes and has been shared 580,000 times. Due to the excitement, Philadelphia Zoo will put tickets for Boo at the Zoo on sale earlier than ever - as the public is ready for pumpkin spice and spooky season in the City of Brotherly Love. Philadelphia Zoo is the first Zoo in America and, despite being around for so long, is also one of the leaders in the country on emerging social platforms, including TikTok and Instagram. Boo at the Zoo returns on Saturdays and Sundays, from October 15-30, 2022, with more info at The video is seen on Instagram under the account @KoryAversa and on TikTok under @PhillyPublicist.

"Boo at the Zoo is one of the Zoo's favorite events of the year and being able to offer our animals pumpkins as either a snack or an item to investigate and play with makes those three weekends in October even more special," said Philadelphia Zoo Chief Marketing and Experience Officer Amy Shearer. “We are so excited and thankful for the global interest in our hippos and Boo at the Zoo - our Zoo team and family have been thrilled to follow the video's journey over the last year from when Kory put it on TikTok. We are delighted to see it come back a year later and break records again on Instagram - just in time for Spooky Season in Philly! How crazy that our hippos are now the stars of one of the most viewed Instagram Reels in the world."

The story of this viral video dates back to a television shoot that Aversa PR set up with local TV station PHL 17. Reporter Sophia Cifuentes was previewing Boo at the Zoo at the time. She was given instructions on how to feed the hippos the pumpkins- an enrichment for the hippos during this time of year in October. Aversa organized the shoot - and took the content. Little known to the public and media at the time, he had just town his calf and could not walk on one foot. So after being helped into the area for the shoot, he was safely positioned (and socially distanced, at the time) where he could take pressure off the one foot while videotaping the experience for social media. Due to being in a unique angle to protect his leg, he got the video from an unusual angle.

During the shoot, Philadelphia Zoo Director of Conservation and Education Dani Hogan is seen giving the reporter tips on how to feed the pumpkin to the hippos. Hogan is seen feeding Cindy, while Cifuentes fed a pumpkin to Una - Cifuentes is heard calling out Una's name in a video that has been played both for the video and the sound millions of times. Una then crunches the pumpkin in a pumpkin crunch heard around the globe!

Aversa left the shoot and was waiting to be helped back to the front of the Zoo as he couldn't walk - and while he rested, he created the video, picked his favorite trending Halloween sound - and posted the video before leaving the Zoo. He got home and the video started generating hundreds of thousands of views. He and the Zoo team woke up the next day to hundreds of thousands of views which then translated into millions of views daily. From that video, Aversa garnered tens of thousands of followers to add to his existing followers.

Flash forward to a year later, Aversa saw it was pumpkin spice season and videos about pumpkins were trending early for the year. He also wanted to celebrate the coming one-year anniversary- and posted the video on Reels. The video got thousands of views the first night, ten thousand the next day and within 36-48 hours, starting collecting millions of views - the video has garnered one to fifteen million views a day for 3 weeks now and counting.

"I am over the moon at the response this video has had in its global journey - and I even more excited for the attention it brings to one of my favorite places in the world, Philadelphia," said Aversa. "I started Philly Publicist on TikTok and Kory Aversa on Instagram as a love letter to Philadelphia - to take my followers from Twitter and Facebook from the last ten years, and bring them all my favorite things in video format in emerging platforms. I am proud to showcase places and organizations like Philadelphia Zoo. Boo at the Zoo is also one of my favorite Halloween things to do - and I am obsessed with spooky season, or #SpookySzn as its known on TikTok. The video has brought joy to a combined 225M viewers in countries around the globe. I love that it brings smiles to people's faces, joy to people's day, and attention for the work of the Philadelphia Zoo. I have seen entire families, classes and sports team duet the video, share the video, and tag each other in the video - it brings me joy every day, and I am so excited that the video not only celebrates and raises up the Zoo but it brings attention to my city - and keeps Philly shining brightly as a world-class destination. I have had friends from the other side of the state, country and globe reach out and say we saw your video on social media - and even saying they saw it on the news in their own city and state. I am thrilled for the Zoo, for my city and for my two favorite hippos! I can't wait to see Cindy and Una again in the coming weeks - we have a delightful pumpkin waiting for them to crunch again as Boo at the Zoo gets closer."

Aversa added, "It was crazy when the video first went viral - what do you do next? How do you handle the followers and new audience? How do you reply to all the comments? I didn't know what to do - so I reached out to larger accounts, did my research and most importantly, stepped back and tried to be authentic in connecting with my new audience. A year later, I have tried to engage and answer as many of the thousands of comments - and the hundreds of direct messages, calls and texts. Its exciting that people in all corners of the world want to connect - and despite language and cultural differences - we all share the same joy in watching this video. The pandemic brought me to TikTok - and I sat home alone for months and months watching my city close down. I connected with people in all other places across America and the world - and found it amazing that we all faced the same challenges. With this video, its amazing to take that to a positive level; we all now share the same joy. Congrats to Philadelphia Zoo, Cindy and Una. I will be there for Boo at the Zoo and can't wait to hear the crunch worldwide up close and in real life once again."

The timing of the video going viral couldn't be better as Boo at the Zoo tickets are selling soon - and the public is gearing up to watch the hippos crunch those pumpkins again during Philadelphia's spooky season. Aversa is already working with local media on how to celebrate the milestone and feed the pumpkin again to the hippos.

Last year, Boo at the Zoo was one of the most successful in Zoo history. The Zoo is already planning on a banner year, fingers crossed. Aversa is working on a pumpkin-loving hippo party with a special cake from Madison K in Northern Liberties, and he is working on a special t-shirt about his video with proceeds being donated to Philadelphia Zoo to support their work.


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