Marketing Innovation – YouTube Wants REAL Celebrities

In 2009 Carl’s Jr and Initiative made waves when they launched the Portobello Mushroom burger with the help of what are now called YouTube celebrities. This method marked a new way to distribute custom content to built in audiences on YouTube. The “new kind of network buy,” according to AdAge, was featured in many publications and since then is still used by YouTube as a case study. Now, they want to leverage that model by using REAL celebrities. After their recent purchase of Next New Networks, YouTube is looking to scale their custom content production and is offering $5 million to celebrities who want to create a channel and push custom content out. This creates more ad revenue potential for YouTube and wider distribution options with brands who also want to align with celebrities in more cost effective ways, but it is not making the current YouTube celebs happy. Current YouTube celebs are part of YouTube’s partner program and receive grants but they are far less than what YouTube is proposing to offer celebrities. The YouTube celebs understand the business implications of this and think it makes sense from YouTube’s perspective, but these celebrities could be the Walmart to the YouTube celeb’s mom-and-pop shop and the just hope they aren’t pushed out of business.

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