Advertising Week 2014: YouTube – Stealing Focus

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How do brands turn viewers into ‘super fans’? Well, according to Alfie Deyes (author of PointlessBlog) and go-to beauty tip lady Lily Pebbles, two YouTube sensations in their twenties, currently making a living purely from producing online video, it’s about creating a two-way conversation with your fans. Answering direct questions, and actually asking viewers what kind of content they want to see rank among their top priorities. And with a collective following of 2.2m, it seems to be working.

So what of brand interaction with video bloggers? Well, both Tesco and Cadbury have run successful sponsored social campaigns with these two YouTube aficionados, and with loyal followers being heavily influenced by blogger preferences, it’s likely we’ll see more of this throughout 2014.

But there’s a hesitancy that comes with YouTube partnership deals. Lily said: ‘Product placement has to be credible. It’s not like when Eva Longoria advertises mascara on TV. We all know why she’s doing it, and we all play the game. But on YouTube, if a product seems at odds with my usual tastes, my followers would instantly smell a rat.’

Alfie echoed the sentiment: ‘Sponsored work can be great, but only when it enables you to pull together something fans don’t normally get to see from me, like very high quality production or filming an expensive stunt. It has to involve something you couldn’t do without an association with that brand.’