iJustine Saves Marketing As We (Will) Know It


See? There is life after internet stardom. Its not always an exciting life but it does pay the bills a bit better than making funny videos from your apartment.

Justine Ezarik (where were you during SXSW? Were you even there??) has been doing the online video thing for years. Over time - and hey, we all have to make a living - she's increasingly pimped products in her videos. And, for the most part, the work has been just fine.

Currently, she, along with seven other YouTube Elite, is pimping the Sanyo Dual Camera Xacti. Last Fall, she even stepped off the internet to appear in...OMG...a TV commercial for Mozy backup software.

Some claim Justine is selling out. Well, of course she is. Everyone does and there's really nothing wrong with it. To the high and mighty who decry these moves, the bills have to be paid somehow.

What's right about the brands that work with Justine (and other well known entities) is, as we've said many times before, they latched onto - just as marketers do with "regular" celebrities and sport figures - an already popular entity as opposed to attempting to create something out of thin air. This isn't a new notion but it is surprising how many brands try to "do the viral thing" on their own with their fingers crossed the thing will magically be seen by all.

Stride gum attached themselves to Matt Harding, the wildly popular dude who travels the world to do his goofy dance in as many places as possible. A recent video he did for Stride Gum was seen by more than 20 million people. And that's just the YouTube count.

As social media (or whatever label you want to slap on the notion humans converse/share and exchange data with each other online) becomes more pervasive and just the normal way of doing things, marketers who have traditionally relied on mass media to get their messages out will reach out to those who engage heavily in social media spaces and who have the capability and ability to help spread a brand's message.

Despite the dramatic changes underway, in large part, it's still about eyeballs. Making it possible for those who have the proclivity for a particular product or service to access information about that product or service. It won't always be about outgoing communication from marketers to consumers (yes, that is a bad word) but the creation and proliferation of information that is readily available in every possible form in every possible media.

The internet has changed people's habits. It has made it easy to find information on just about anything in which a person has an interest. However, if the information doesn't exist, it can't be found. It is still truly amazing how many businesses don't have even the most basic information in places where people can find it when they search. And they will search. People have always searched. That's why we had the Yellow Pages.

This is not, as they say, rocket science. It should not be difficult. The questions marketers should ask themselves as marketing moves from push to pull are no different than they have always been: Who are the most likely people to have an interest in my brand? What information do they need about my brand to make a decision? How should that information be presented? And what are the likely places they will look for that information?

All too often, we get caught up in knee jerk reactions when things change. We scream "TV is dead!" "No one reads newspapers!" "EVARyone is on Twitter!" These proclamations, often stated as absolutes by overzealous panelists at SXSWADTECHBLOGWORLDAFFSUMWEB20SESPUBCONSMX, are simply not true. Things do not change overnight. 300 million Americans have not thrown out their television sets. And, most assuredly, 300 million American are not using Twitter.

Media habits change slowly. Very slowly. Over generations, in fact. Why do you think your grandfather still reads the newspaper and you don't? It's his habit. Not yours. Likely, he'll never get his "earthquake warnings" from Twitter.

With fast-paced change comes the need to experiment with new and unproven media. No one has all the answers. No one ever will but the brands who do dip their toe in the choppy waters of change will win. They will learn and they will apply those learnings to future marketing efforts.

As much as things are changing, marketing is not dead. Advertising is not dead. They will never die. They are simply getting redefined as people redefine how they live their lives and how they buy the things they need to live their lives.

by Steve Hall    Apr- 2-09   Click to Comment   
Topic: Opinion, Social, Trends and Culture   

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Great post! I agree; too many companies try to grow their own viral stardom overnight, and would be a lot more successful if they just attached to a pre-existing internet star. As long as they keep it fun and honest like iJustine has done, then it should help to sell product without making us feel like we're all getting used.

Posted by: Cory O'Brien on April 1, 2009 12:35 PM

Thank you for your kind words. I was not at SXSW this year (I was actually in my apartment shooting the Sanyo video lol). Honestly, I think I'm still recovering from the previous year where I hobbled around with a sprained ankle :)

The best part about working with these particular brands (Sanyo, Mozy, etc) is that they are products I do believe in and use.. like Apple, who luckily gets all of my advertising for free. I do create a lot of content and am very careful what I post to my youtube channel/blog/twitter because I don't want to turn people away or make them feel like they are getting used, as Cory said.

I promote things I like, and 98% of the time.. no one is paying me anything to do so :) Good thing for that %2 so I can pay my rent and continue making videos out of my apartment! :P

Posted by: iJustine on April 1, 2009 3:23 PM

Great post. Good to see iJustine getting some props. It amazes me how many people are still blind to the changes that have been coming to business, marketing and advertising for years. It's generally the people who don't come from these backgrounds that are doing the best work. When done right, they can be fun and effective.
now... i wanna go check out that Sanyo cam to see if I can use it for live broadcasting

Posted by: Ice Cream Man on April 1, 2009 5:59 PM


God bless ya, but I think iJustine proves something we've all known, but often opt not to say out loud: A good looking woman sells things. It's the reason sideline reporters are often attractive. It's the reason Jen from the Bachelor become a columnist/editor for a magazine.

I ask you this, if iJustine looked like say Judith Light or Sally Struthers, would she be this popular? I ask this seriously. Look at her credentials, she has none. She has about as much experience as Obama girl...another sexy looking woman. Why i she even remotely qualified? She's not.


Posted by: Rick Steve on April 2, 2009 12:12 AM

@Rick: What qualifications does one need besides an a built in audience, charm, and the ability to sell a product effortlessly? She's got all three, and sorry mac, but you can't manufacture that in a board meeting. Put down the cup of Hater=ade you're drinking from and get with it.

Posted by: Baby Oreilly on April 2, 2009 10:00 AM

Rick, not only does Justine create her own content for the most part. She is has skills doing editing, production and writing. As well as being funny.

Posted by: Dave Peck on April 2, 2009 1:06 PM

Stop making so much sense, you are taking all the fun out of blinding accusing everything is dead.

Seriously though, great post.

I find it fascinating that in a medium where one's participation is based on the very premise of self promotion, even if you only have 4 followers on Twitter, that people would accuse someone else of selling out. And likely these accusations came on eponymous blogs with Google adsense links in the columns. iJustine managing her brand and making a living off it just right.

Posted by: Brett T. T. Macfarlane on April 2, 2009 2:48 PM