August 22nd, 2006

Brands Will Have a Tough Time on YouTube

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I wonder whether any of the brands that YouTube is approaching to create customized video channels will really take the time to look at what kind of content is acutally driving the outrageous success of this much-hyped video sharing site.

Let’s take a look at what’s on the front page of YouTube today.

There’s the human experiment with Mentos and Diet Coke, and two rabbits eating.

YouTube Featured 1

Then there’s the Snakes on a Plane spoof, amateur guitar playing, and amateur rapping.

YouTube Featured 2

Lastly, we have a cat flushing a toilet, an All in the Family musical intro immitation, and musical pancake making.

YouTube Featured 3

Here’s what’s most telling — compare the ratings on these videos to the ratings of the sponsored Paris Hilton music video on the same home page (i.e. “the bizarre cultural icon Paris Hilton,” as Marshall Kirkpatrick at TechCrunch aptly puts it).

YouTube Paris Hilton

Cats flushing toilets and rabbits eating are apparently far more entertaining than Paris Hilton — and I have to agree that at least the bathroom cat was good for a laugh. Even the amateur rapper beats Paris.

Instead of signing up Paris Hilton to promote their new branded video channel offering, perhaps YouTube should have signed up Gizmo the Cat. I bet Gizmo and the other talent on display at YouTube today would be happy to participate in any kind of paid brand channel efforts, but you have to wonder whether the magic would be lost.

Here’s some advice for brands looking to tap into the success of YouTube — remember that the users are in control, and what they think is entertaining and worth their time — particularly as to raw humor and home-grown talent — may not generally align with your branded content. Your value proposition needs to align with the actual value that YouTube creates for its millions of users everyday.

Comments (8 Responses so far)

  1. Brands Will Have a Tough Time on YouTube

  2. Scott Karp / Publishing 2.0: Brands Will Have a Tough Time on YouTube

  3. Stuff I ReadThe Politically Incorrect AlphabetFailure to FailA False Sense of Insecurity [PDF]50 COMMON INTERVIEW Q&AEverything Is Media: The Online Retailer EditionBrands Will Have a Tough Time on YouTube

  4. iResearch-艾瑞市场咨询-中国移动推出手机博客业务-WEB 2.0 什么时候国家图书馆的领导也交一次年费试一下啊? [和讯博客] 公关教室:在新闻事件中抢占标题 – 牛角尖-程天宇的blog Brands Will Have a Tough Time on YouTube ?Publishing 2.0…

  5. It had to be said: “Cats flushing toilets and rabbits eating are apparently far more entertaining than Paris Hilton.” Posted August 26, 2006 10:06 a.m.. [Comment] [Link]

  6. . They understood that YouTube and other forms of social media are allowing consumers to become a driving force in the way advertising and marketing is created and understood. What’s so hard about that, Scott? More discussion: TechCrunch, Mashable, Publishing 2.0, Bloggers Blog, Clickety Clack, Good Morning Silicon Valley, InterMedia, Frank Barnako, Micro Persuasion and Open Culture. Mainstream media reports: Financial Times, Reuters, and the LA Times. Technorati Tags:

  7. investment than old-fashioned ads. I want to think it does, but there are no hard numbers available) One of Dan’s best points is that something like PayPerPost may be a more natural advertising medium than what the ridiculous old-media plays MySpace, YouTube and other 2.0 companies are pulling, at the insistance of the old grey men that have bought them. No one is going to have their opinion swayed by a Dodge Caliber page on MySpace. But if MySpace users started giving their honest opinions on the Caliber,

  8. Cats flushing toilets and rabbits eating are apparently far more entertaining than Paris Hilton ― and I have to agree that at least the bathroom cat was good for a laugh. Even the amateur rapper beats Paris. Brands Will Have a Tough Time on YouTube – Publishing 2.0 うんうんうんwwwwwwwwwwww Here’s some advice for brands looking to tap into the success of YouTube ― remember that the users are in control, and what they think is entertaining and worth their time ― particularly as to raw humor and

  9. Well, nobody can compete with renetto on YouTube, the users just love everything he does. And a cat flushing the toilet? If the quality of some of the “talking dogs” footage on YouTube is any indication then Paris is probably out of luck there too. But as a B level YouTube star I think she’ll do fine.

  10. Just remember the long tail folks.. youtube is only partially about the stuff on the front page, ie, the stuff the masses want. There are an almost infinite number of niches to carve out an audience.

  11. Scott: interesting look at this. However, I don’t think users are in control of YouTube. What is posted on the YouTube homepage, and the main video page is not ranked by user ratings, like Digg. I have wondered about the editorial practices of the YouTube staff in terms of what goes up. If a popular poster creates a new video, it is up on that page quickly, rating or not. Likewise, some videos don’t have many ratings at all, and certainly not high ones.

    There are many ways to break into the content on the site, but I think that YouTube has a lot of control in positioning partners prominently. Whether or not this changes the homegrown nature of YouTube… well that is already changing. Is the world a worse place for it? I don’t know.

  12. [...] It’s certainly cool to watch those rare talents making great online video entertainment and news shows, such as zefrank, Amanda Congden, Cali Lewis, and of course the Rocketboom folks, just to name a few of the more prominent. And You Tube means anyone can be a star, so everyone’s got to try. [...]

  13. [...] There has been a lot of talk this week about YouTube’s deal to partner with advertisers and marketers. One pundit, muses on whether the YouTube community will embrace content that is far more produced and mainstream than its usual video content ranging from pet tricks to poor lip-syncs. [...]

  14. Scott, a great article in New York Magazine should make you wonder if a branding campaign that actually “gets” YouTube might be right under your nose, in the form of lazydork and lonelygirl15.

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