The popularity of web videos, in particular those on YouTube, is quickly catching up with television views and, in some cases, surpassing them. YouTube in particular has given a whole new wave of creative talent, personalities and procuders access to a wide audience, allowing them to shine. Naturally, it was only a matter of time before brands and marketers tapped that talent for their own content. Both sides win, as the YouTube stars get a paycheck and even more exposure, and the brands gain more credibility among millions of loyal YouTube subscribers.
Take a look at these four examples and see for yourself what YouTube has to offer beyond its platform.
Using celebrities is hardly new territory for Carl's Jr. Does anyone remember the infamous and controversial Paris Hilton spot a few years back? Since then, the fast food chain has utilized a parade of celebrities sexually shoving its sandwiches into their mouths. Eventually, they started tapping popular YouTube personalities to tout their burgers, both online and on TV.
One YouTube star Carl’s Jr. enlisted is Ryan Higa, or, as his nearly 10.5 million subscribers know him, Nigahiga. Rather than enlist Higa to provocatively eat its Portobello mushroom burger, Carl’s Jr. let him make a video more in line with his production style. The result is a humorous spot that garnered over 13 million views.
Carl’s Jr. also pulled some YouTubers from the small laptop screen to the slightly bigger TV screen in some commercial spots, including the men of popular cooking and comedy channel Epic Meal Time. The big, masculine figures of Epic Meal Time contrast sharply with the super models and actresses Carl’s Jr. typically enlists to eat burgers in slow motion. Rest assured, as the spot below will tell you, “Once you go black angus, you never go eat carrots.”
YouTube Star: Charles Trippy
Charles Trippy is creator and co-star, with his wife Allie, of popular reality web series Internet Killed Television. Over 1 million subscribers tune in to watch Charles and Allie on their daily adventures, which include traveling and even the removal of Charles’ brain tumor. The level of intimacy with its audience that Internet Killed Television achieved is something only a YouTube video could do, and that’s why brands are drawn to form YouTube deals. The YouTube stars’ quirky videos and active subscriber base—who they affectionately refers to as CTFxCers (Charles Trippy Friend x Core)—caught the attention of major razor manufacturer Gillette. The brand partnered with the couple to make this video spot promoting a $10,000 giveaway on YouTube. The spot is a fun twist on old-fashioned sitcoms.
YouTube Star: Mystery Guitar Man
Joe Penna, or "Mystery Guitar Man" as he is known on YouTube, made a huge splash with his stop-motion videos. Videos like “T-Shirt War” and “Guitar: Impossible” have over 10 million and 15 million views respectively. Penna’s stop-motion talents in T-Shirt War caught the attention of fast food giant McDonald’s and mega-brand Coca-Cola. A peak at Penna’s stop-motion talents in T-Shirt War.
Penna has since produced several TV commercials for McDonald’s, including the one posted below. The resulting spot is a great example of the harmony that can come of a big budget and real independent creative control. Brands can gain a lot from the breath of fresh air provided by outside creatives like YouTube producers.
YouTube Star: Michelle Phan
Makeup artist Michelle Phan rose to YouTube fame with videos such as the “Lady GaGa Poker Face Tutorial,” which now has over 34 million views. With that kind of popularity, Lancome was smart to snatch up Phan and make her the brand's official video makeup artist. They have a page devoted to Phan on their site, filled with her tutorials.
This is the famous Gaga video that started it all.
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