I am in no way suggesting that these YouTubers don’t work for the money they earn and that their life is in anyway easy. I’m also not saying that I don’t like this culture, I watch a lot of YouTubers myself. But agencies such as Gleam have hit the jackpot with the likes of Tanya Burr, Zoella and PointlessBlog.
If you watch these YT’ers videos from events such as Playlist Live and Vidcon, you’ll see the impact they have on peoples lives. Hundreds of (mostly) teenagers queue up to say a quick hello and grab a photo with their idols. They can relate to these YT’ers who may have suffered from anxiety, have body image problems or simply like make-up. They may watch their videos as an escape from their own lives, or just because they’re a bit nosy like me. It’s great that these people are role models for millions of people around the world, that they can use their videos as escapism, or just for tips on how to create the perfect cat eye.
These YT’ers are HUGELY influential, they have huge audiences of potential consumers who take in everything the say. Queue the brands who pay them to say nice things about their products. I have no issue with this really, I don’t blame them but this is where I feel it crosses a line of some description. I’d like to think I’m pretty savvy about PR, I run this blog and have just finished my degree in Marketing. I can usually easily identify when Zoella is being sponsored by a brand, this means that I’m not bothered what she is saying. It might be true that she loves a Simple moisturiser, but I know she is being paid and disregard the message. I’m not saying that YT’ers lie and say they like a product simply because a brand is paying them, but they may act as though they love it more than they do. I think this is misleading for those viewers who aren’t aware this even takes place, I’m unsure as to whether my 14 year old sister would know her favourite YT’ers are paid to rave about products. It worries me than 13 year old are hanging off every word of their favourite YT’ers and if they say they love something, they’ll annoy their parents until they own it.
This brings me on to YT’ers as brands. Tanya Burr released her lipgloss and nail polish line earlier in the year, and is launching more in the future. Great, she was an MUA so its credible, right? I saw a 14 year old girl spend ALL of her birthday money so she could buy every shade. It’s her own choice, I know that, but they build a relationship and trust these YT’ers and companies are banking on this. I bought a couple of items from the line, and honestly? They weren’t great. I saw SO many bloggers raving about them and I wanted to shake them. I think a lot of people are blinkered, they see the branding and ignore the product.
Both Zoella and PointlessBlog are releasing books over the next couple of months. There are people out there who spend their whole life trying to get published and fail to do so, even if they are AMAZING. I’m not saying they should turn down the opportunity by any means, go for it. When celebrities write a book, it’s usually seen as ‘oh trying to make more money’, but with Zoella and PointlessBlog people aren’t thinking like that. It has their name on it, they will buy it. I can’t imagine how many children’s Christmas lists they’ll be on this year.
I’m not saying that YouTubers are bad, but companies see their ‘brand’ as a license to print money. Whilst it amazes me, it worries me that it’s practically brainwashing one of the most vulnerable demographics in society. I know this happens in other aspects of life, not just YouTube, but it’s new and another way to target consumers. If you strip it all back, are they just being used to advertise and make people rich?