Kevin Nalty, a guy who makes YouTube videos for fun and was an early star and partner on the site (currently No. 92 most-subscribed of all time), never hid his real identity. On the contrary, he treated his wife and young kids like a sketch comedy troupe. But by going by “Nalts” and avoiding mention of his job marketing Propecia at Merck, he thought he could keep the viral video world and the day job separate.
However, a recent MediaWeek story about product placement on YouTube mentioned Nalty’s employer, and that garnered some attention in the pharma blogging world. So this morning, he quit his job and became a full-time online video marketer.
Asked whether Merck pressured him to leave, Nalty told us via email “Merck actually handled the exposure and my departure with class.” But he said it was the public exposure that made it clear the situation was too tenuous.
“Merck knew about Nalts before they hired me. But as Nalts grew, it became harder to keep ‘low profile.’ I went to great lengths to keep them separate because I didn’t want my goofball antics to reflect poorly on a company focused on health and medication…The fact that Merck was recently being unfairly linked to me and fart videos was the ‘straw that broke the camel’s back.'”
Nalty said that between a combination of growing YouTube partner revenue; sponsored videos for MTV, MSN, and Fox that were brokered by Hitviews; and paid consulting work; he’s “beginning to make more off hours than during [my] day job.”
It’s that consulting business — not the fart videos — where Nalty thinks he can make a real impact, by uniting the two sides of his life that he’d worked hard to separate. By being “a seasoned marketer who also knows online video from an inside-out perspective as an online ‘weblebrity,'” Nalty wants to help brands adapt to a new evolution of marketing that’s driven by social media, especially video.