Burger Joint Carl’s Jr. is enlisting video blogger iJustine and eight other YouTube stars to pimp its Portobello Mushroom Six-Dollar Burger, reports AdWeek. Brands hiring YouTube stars to tap into online audiences is nothing new, but as AdWeek writes, it’s not just the video audience Carl’s Jr. is after:
The YouTube stars were chosen not only for their creative flair, but for the networks of followers they can mobilize. Ezarik, for instance, not only has 94,000 subscribers to the iJustine YouTube channel — the nine YouTube celebs combined total 3.8 million subscribers on the site — but also boasts 590,000 followers on Twitter and 25,000 Facebook fans. These networks, in essence, comprise a new kind of media buy.
While we wonder how effective iJustine is at promoting products other than herself, hiring her is a good example of a company thinking beyond just playcounts and approaching the web as an interconnected whole. Watching commercials is no longer a passive experience like it was with oldteevee — both the people hawking the products and the people watching can be active participants in the pitch process.
But Carl’s Jr. is not the first to seek out this social media spokeswoman. Ezarik has also been featured in promotions for Mozy, Sanyo, AT&T and eBillme, among others.
“Stars” of commercials can build communities around themselves so that brand messages get propagated beyond just the video channel. As noted, celebs will tweet and Facebook to their fans, encouraging conversations around items like a $6 mushroom smothered in cheese and wrapped in a bun.
And viewers don’t just watch commercials anymore; they share them with their friends, engage in online discussions around brands, and as in the case with this Carl’s Jr. campaign, audiences are encouraged to create their own commercial — which they will then go on to share with friends, and the cycle continues.
As the AdWeek story notes, if every brand starts doing something like this, there could be fatigue as Twitter and Facebook get clogged with messages beckoning people to watch commercials. But brands recognizing the changing behavior of their audiences is an important aspect of monetizing this newteevee era.