The phenomenon of YouTubers becoming the new celebrity is not a new one (see ‘Talent Tube: how Britain’s new YouTube superstars built a global fanbase’) but it is one I think many marketers still fail to grasp. I would guess that this is mostly because they are not in the demographic and for us ‘oldies’, it can sometimes be hard to really comprehend what people find so compelling. Low production values (although this is changing), often teenagers simply speaking into camera at home and where is the storytelling? I am still trying to work out what the equivalent was when we were teenagers but ultimately the numbers speak for themselves. A YouTuber like Zoella gets on average over 50 times more viewers than the first episode of Mad Men Season 6 received on its debut in the UK earlier this year.
And at a time when ‘native advertising’ is becoming more and more important as people are demanding content that is relevant to them wherever they are, 2015 is perhaps going to be the year that influencer marketing on YouTube starts to grow. Certainly Nic Yeeles, who I met at a recent Friday Club session, hopes so as he is the founder of Peg, a service which allows you to find and ultimately connect with YouTube influencers in a far more efficient way.
He told me: “Influencer marketing currently feels like the ugly duckling of advertising. Sure, several campaigns to date have been hugely successful. But the concept, content and execution feels a little unimaginative, forced, and vanilla.”
However saying that we have already seen some very interesting campaigns to date and with Nic’s help as well as some fellow Socials, here is our Top 10 list of advertising campaign’s using Youtube influencers:
The ‘Mystery Packages’ campaign for RNLI
One of the first campaigns to recognise the influence YouTubers had on a younger generation. What was lovely about this was that at its heart it was simply a clever and well targeted direct marketing campaign. And the results are really quite impressive
VW’s a Crash Course to shine
This is still one of my favourite campaigns of the last 2-3 years. I have no doubt that the fact that this was the first time we had seen a YouTuber used like this, the impact was even more shocking.
Nic is also a fan: “VW’s powerful Crash Course to Shine still stands strong two years down the line as an exemplar for what’s possible when brands and vloggers collide. Impactful, unpredictable and perfectly targeted. A bold creative for a potent message. A swan.”
How to look your best the morning after
Okay so it came after Crash Course but it does not make it any less impactful
Samsung ‘Over to you’
I might be a little biased as this was done while I was at Cheil but this for me is a brilliant example of how you connect a brand with millennials in a really refreshing way. Our creative team were amazing as they really embraced the campaign but when creatives from other agencies were saying to them ‘but the content is not yours, why are you proud of it?’, you can understand some of the challenges that the advertising industry is facing. That and the fact that videos like this were produced on a fraction of the budget that an agency could:
Phil the Lion vs. Dan the Dinosaur! for Krave
All Things Hair by Unilever
I thought this is a real audacious move by Unilever to create a YouTube channel filled with hair-styling tutorials from video bloggers. Incorporating brands such as Toni & Guy, Dove and V05, this is the first time that the company has promoted multiple brands in a single campaign. Working closely with Google, the channel basically learns what people are most Googling and forwards them to a team of video bloggers, who are paid by Unilever to create tutorials. This is definitely one to follow carefully to see how successful it is as it certainly represents a possible model for the future.
Jacksgap + Skype
Nic Yeeles comments: Few brands have nailed vlogger collaborations like Skype. Cast your mind back to the birth of social media. Plenty of hype and interest from brands, but bucketloads of hesitation and fear. “Is it a fad? How do I measure return? How do I control it?” The same is now true for influencer marketing. Letting go of control is tough, but crucial – and Skype is an excellent example of how that can work. Even more crucial, however, is what value the brand brings to the vlogger. No, not just a paycheque. They can’t be treated like paid actors with a script, they need something more that’s of benefit to their channel and audience. There’s a major difference between traditional celebrities and vloggers – the vloggers own their audience and the content is what keeps them.
Jack and Finn Harries are sickeningly talented guys, but there’s only so much scope when shooting videos in your bedroom with zero budget. Skype enabled the guys to do something they’ve always wanted to do: produce documentaries. The content feels right at home on the Jacksgap channel and doesn’t distract in any way by being branded content. It actually adds to their content. For the brand, vlogger and the audience, it’s a win.
ICE BIKE The worlds first bike with wheels made of ICE for Uniqlo
Natalie Lam, ECD at Razorfish in New York, first showed this to us in CS Bucharest in November. It was by far my favourite piece of work and just shows how a brand like Uniqlo truly understands digital and how best to connect with its audience.
Jack and Jack – In The Pizza Hut Test Kitchen
I wanted to eat lots of Pizza after watching this.
District Voices for Hunger Games Mockingjay
District Voices was a five-episode YouTube series presented as programming from Capitol TV, the fictional government-run station in The Hunger Games universe of Panem. Lionsgate plucked some of YouTube’s top personalities for the series, matching channel content with the characteristics of various Panem districts.
Here are some examples:
Do let us know if you think we have missed anything out. Irrespective I suspect we are going to see some interesting work coming out in 2015. Do send us anything you do
Other articles of interest:
It’s time brands adopt Youtube mindset
How the Slow mo guys took over Youtube
YouTubers will grill Obama after State of the Union