The Young And Bold YouTube Entrepreneurs

If you tell people you write about online video, you’re sure to get a lot of cutting comments about cute kitties and teenage kids making fart noises, not the incredibly intimate thing online video posts and responses can be.  But at a couple of NewFront events, I got caught up with the entrepreneurial, dreamy side of some young content creators.  These are extraordinary people, at least some of them, real 21st Century creations. .

At the Collective Digital Studio NewFront presentation, I met Wendy Nguyen, who in 2011 uploaded “25 Ways to Wear A Scarf in 4.5 Minutes” which, pretty quickly got viewed. And viewed, and viewed. Thirty million times. Now her Wendy’s Lookbook has over 620,000 subscribers and 70 million views and she takes it  in some other directions, like a travel video to explore her Vietnamese ancestry.



Nguyen, if you watched the CDS video biography of her, just seems like a young woman far too interested in fashion. In fact she is both of those things, but Nguyen was actually working as a banker-- a banker!-- for Wells Fargo in San Francisco and feeling restless to do something she really wanted to do. YouTube was the answer, the scarf was her calling card. “I wanted to do 50 ways,” she laughs, explaining that her videographer talked her out of that.

Another beauty vlogger at Collective, Alexa Losey, didn’t quite sneer at television-like “star” endorsers. But she said some of those brand spokesman say, “Hey I use this product when in reality [they should be saying] ‘I have a whole professional team that whitens my teeth.' ” (For the record, she use Colgate.)

An hour later at Style Haul’s NewFronts, I was charmed by Adelaine Morin, a teenager, whose Style Haul channel C0OK1EMONSTER--yes, spellled that way--is also supersized for what it seems to be.

She told her fans she would be at the NewFronts and took suggestions on Snapchat about what to wear.  She likes Snapchat, she told the audience, because “I can put out as many double-chinned selfies as I want and they’re gone in 24 hours.“ (She does not have even the hint of a double chin.) She got 50,000 responses in a couple days.

But if you go to her StyleHaul channel, you’ll also find the “Night Routine For School 2015,” a motivational video for teens. “A dream without a plan,” she tells her peers, “Is simply just a wish.”  She may be selling beauty items but that site, obviously, is doing something a lot more. Within those stupid videos are messages parents could never deliver.

Also at the StyleHaul event was the petite channel-runner Dulce Ruiz, from Oxnard, Calif.  I stumbled to ask her her age--I guess she’s 20, but she tells me she’s 27. Before StyleHaul, she was in the Army. “That was my motivation. Everything was so drab, I wanted to do something with pretty, bright clothes when I got back.” That’s “back” from Baghdad, where she drove a Humvee and had close-up encounter with an RPG.

These YouTube personalities have unique connections to a real world the rest of us, I have a feeling, can’t possibly understand. Rhett and Link are comedians and YouTube show personalities who host, among other thing,  the daily “Good Mythical Morning” (their fans are “mythical beasts.) They hosted the CDS show, and were as dry as toast, the aural and visual opposite of PewDiePie or other stereotypical young-guy YouTube personalities, but devastatingly funny. They also are very quietly, very successful. They’ve known each other since kindergarten in Buies Creek, N.C. and now live in L.A., have a staff of 20 and a devoted, devoted fan base. One day recently, Rhett (McLaughlin) opened the front door of his home and found a note that read: “It’s kind of easy to find out where you live. Thought you should know. (Signed) A Mythical Beast.” Said McLaughlin, when I asked about that fan later, “He meant well.”

No doubt he did.

That CDS NewFront also featured a group of Collective influencers, who, showed off for the NewFront event. They invented #waterballoonfight just a day before the show, inviting others to photograph themselves throwing a water balloon at  friends. As of yesterday, that resulted in 13 million Vine loops, 3 million Snapchat open, 6 milliion Instagram posts and 56 million Twitter retweets-nearly 80 million cumulative pass-alongs.  I asked these guys afterward what they would have done for the NewFront if it hadn’t worked. One of them thought about that a moment as if it was a really odd question. “We just knew it would work. We just know.” and I guess they really do.
2 comments about "The Young And Bold YouTube Entrepreneurs".
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  1. Jeff Rutherford from Jeff Rutherford Media Relations, LLC, May 6, 2015 at 1:14 p.m.

    I totally agree. If TV executives aren't spending 50% of their time courting YouTube content creators or buying YouTube newtorks outright, they're seriously not paying attention. 

    I know that I'm observing a small sample, but I watch the media habits of my 11 year old and 7 year old sons. They have stopped watching TV. As in, they NEVER WATCH A SINGLE TV SHOW (except for The Flash and Daredevil). 

    Ninety-eight percent of their video watching is YouTube. It's certainly generational. Personally, watching a video of someone playing Minecraft has zero appeal to me. But they can't get enough. But, it goes beyond Minecraft videos. They watch a variety of pop culture news shows that are serving up daily news about upcoming superhero movies, spoilers, discussions of new movie trailers, etc., etc. 

    But my sons know the names of these creators, they look forward eagerly to their new videos, and they subscribe to their channels. And, yes, they hate every video ad as passionately as everyone else (madly clicking the screen if they can skip an ad). 

    I'm sure there are TV execs confident that my kids will eventually tire of YouTube content and migrate to professionally produced content. I'm doubtful. If you grow up on home-grown content, your standards will be different. You won't demand a slick production as long as the content is interesting to you. 

    Regardless of the ultimate outcome, it's certainly fascinating to watch the evolution of video content.

  2. Jeff Rutherford from Jeff Rutherford Media Relations, LLC, May 7, 2015 at 9:40 a.m.

    John Green's recent Brandcast speech articulated YouTube's appeal to kids, teens, and young media consumers.

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