Man Sends Viral 'Love Letter' to Long-Distance Girlfriend

"I Hope This Gets to You" YouTube love letter reaches girlfriend virally.

Dec. 2, 2010— -- Handwritten love letters sent by post are so yesterday. If you want to show affection in the digital age, you upload an original love song to YouTube and let it arrive virally.

Or at least that's what you do if you're a Los Angeles ad man with super-musical roommates.

To show his long-distance girlfriend Alexis how much he loves her, Walter May, 31, a commercial director and editor, spent about two nights and a Sunday afternoon writing and producing a bare bones (though still impressive) music video with his roommates, members of the band The Daylights.

On Monday, they uploaded the video, called "I Hope This Gets to You," to YouTube. But it wasn't until late Wednesday, after the video already had about 140,000 views, that Alexis finally saw the video.

That's because her video-savvy Valentine didn't tell her that he made a pixilated present for her. He said he wanted the video to reach her "organically."

He said he blocked her on Twitter and messaged all of their mutual friends asking them to hold back on sharing the video via social media.

Cynics Doubt Sincerity of Video's Back Story

"I want it to come from a stranger, rather than somebody we both know," he said.

(News stories, incidentally, aren't out of bounds either, he said.)

Ultimately, it seems, May's experiment worked -- well, at least that's what the adman tells us.

At about 2 a.m. ET Thursday, he tweeted out to his friends and new fans, "WE DID IT!!! SHE LOVES IT!!! Thank all of you for the support. Amazing what we can do together! YOU made the world a little smaller tonight."

"The whole idea was that with all of this technology now, it doesn't take that much to feel close to someone anymore," May told in an interview Wednesday (before the big reveal). "Long distance relationships now are not what they used to be."

May said he wrote the words to the song with his roommates, but that several of the lines are specific to moments in his relationship with Alexis (their first kiss, for example). At the very end of the video, the hands which mouth the words to the song, and punctuate the piece with clapping, form the letters "L-E-X" in an extra-personal nod to his girlfriend, he said.

The video, which has been retweeted by May's friends, strangers and even singer Katy Perry, is winning over romantics. But the so-called "digital love letter" is having a tougher time with the cynics.

Cynics, Romantics Debate YouTube Song

Some writers, noting May's background in advertising and the involvement of an up-and-coming band, have wondered about the real story behind the YouTube video's oh-so-sweet love story.

In an article titled "YouTube Romeo, Adland Slickster or Both? You Decide," AdAge said, "What is love in the digital age? Self-promotional and unoriginal, judging by this video uploaded to YouTube three days ago by one Walter C. May."

On YouTube, some commenters have been equally skeptical, though perhaps more supportive.

"I love it?who cares if they are just another band trying to find another way to get their music out," posted "mwaite05." "The idea is awesome, the video is great, and if this couple is really even still together, then props to them, he's a pretty romantic guy and this gesture is pretty awesome."

Video's Creator: 'Purely a Love Song'

When asked about the online cynicism, May said his intentions were sincere.

"It was purely a love song," he said.

Because the song turned out so well, May said he agreed to let his musician friends sell the song on iTunes, for 99 cents a download, as a "thank you."

"They're stoked and excited and happy that things are happening," he said. "We want people to understand that it was more how we can come together as a community and help share everything, you know, our experiences."

May said Alexis, his girlfriend of nearly a year, recently moved to North Carolina for an MBA program at Duke. He said she's so busy with school that she rarely checks what's happening online.

But when Internet-enabled serendipity finally does deliver the video to her computer screen, May hopes she'll enjoy it as much as the thousands of romantics he's impressed online.

"My hope is just that she'll smile. That's the only thing," he said. "That she'll like it and not think that I'm a crazy boyfriend."