Considering that unboxing videos and channels are a dime a dozen on YouTube, it takes something special — like a faceless creator simply known as Jack — to stick out from the rest of the pack.
Unbox Therapy has amassed more than 10 million subscribers since it started in December 2010. The channel focuses on host ￼Lewis George Hilsenteger, aka “Lew,” as he unboxes different gadgets and provides commentary on technology. His videos have been viewed more than 1 billion times and, like other popular YouTubers, he’s amassed a dedicated fan base.
Hilsenteger doesn’t do it on his own, though. His co-creator and videographer, a man simply known as “Jack” to YouTube, has been the subject of conversation for years. Internet sleuths spent their time trying to track down what Jack looks like, searching Instagram and Twitter for clues, but that didn’t stop the resounding cries in the comments on YouTube for a peek at Jack.
Jack would finally be revealed if Unbox Therapy hit 10 million subscribers, Hilsenteger promised. That number came and went, leaving fans wondering when the fateful moment would arrive. Hilsenteger published a thank-you video, and broached the topic, swearing that Jack’s reveal was coming “very soon,” and asking for a little more patience. A couple of days went by and the anticipation grew further, until finally, the channel published a video named “Jack.”
I am Jack’s moment of glory.
Jack’s reveal has racked up more than 3 million views at the time of writing, and it reached the top of YouTube’s Trending category at the peak of its popularity. It’s a well-executed video that goes over the past and present of Jack’s life, finally lending shape to the man who people only knew as Hilsenteger’s most trusted friend and the person behind the camera.
Face reveals on YouTube surpassed gimmicky, clickbaity videos and have become a celebrated trope of sorts. There are quite a few popular YouTubers and Twitch streamers, like Nightblue3 and Luna, who use momentous milestones as a way of giving back to their fans. Nightblue3 and Luna, who specialize in gaming, both used their million-subscriber mark as a way to celebrate with the community by doing face reveals.
There isn’t some secret psychology behind our desire to know what someone looks like. When we’re investing hundreds of hours into watching someone, listening to their voice or hearing about them, we want to put a face to the name. It’s human nature. We’re addicted to mysteries, obsessed with trying to solve the question hanging in front of us. Jack’s identity hung over the Unbox Therapy community, taunting people, turning them into amateur internet detectives.
Jack’s face reveal was a surprise for many; that’s why it was trending on YouTube. But there’s a subset of fans who went out of their way to determine his identity and learn what Jack looked like far before this video. “Fake” Instagram accounts were set up to trick fans and continue the charade that Jack was a faceless voice half-responsible for creating Unbox Therapy.
Still, the sleuths found Jack — or a private Instagram account with just four posts that seemed to be Jack’s authentic account. How did they find it? Through a tag on one of Hilsenteger’s Instagram posts. Uncovering the new Instagram account seemed to be enough for fans to believe Jack was a real person, and not just a conspiracy that Hilsenteger was playing into.
The concept of Jack built up for years, and as Unbox Therapy’s channel grew in popularity — it’s largely credited for leading to Apple’s “Bendgate” fiasco with the iPhone 6 — questions swirling around Jack’s identity became more apparent. Now that the mystery has been resolved, the community seems to have even more questions about what happens with Jack moving forward. Will he be in videos? Will he become more of a front-facing figure? Will his private Instagram account, which links to Unbox Therapy’s YouTube channel, become public?
Neither Jack nor Hilsenteger have said, but it’s clear that things will be different for Unbox Therapy going forward.
“This wasn’t easy for Jack to do ... he did it for you,” a caption on the video reads. “Jack hopes you enjoy this.”
So long as YouTube channels continue to grow with some mystery surrounding the creators etched into their origins, like Unbox Therapy and Jack, face reveal videos will continue to intrigue audiences. We’re infatuated with the mysterious and curious nature of it all; doesn’t that seem to make it just a little more fun?