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Casey Neistat Can Make a Fortune 500 Ad Seem Like a Rebellious Act
31 Jan

Casey Neistat Makes a Fortune 500 Commercial Seem Like a Rebellious Act

Internet Marketers Ignore Youtube at their Own Peril

What does  the term Youtuber mean to you? For many marketers, a Youtuber is a “millennial”  that creates clickbait videos to attract tons of low-value traffic. If you believed everything you read about millennial marketers on the internet, you’d think they invented exaggerration. I think viewpoints like these have made it all too easy to put all Youtubers in a box and dismiss the whole lot of ‘em. This is the kind of attitude that will lead you to wake up one day and find yourself with the wrong skillset for the times you are living in.

Marketers who ignore Youtube do so a their own peril
Three three consultants are giving advice on what not to do.

Casey Neistat Makes a Fortune 500 Commercial Seem Like a Rebellious Act

Maybe more than anyone else, Youtube star Casey Neistat can create an “ad” for a Fortune 500 company and have it seem so rebellious that it seems like an anti-commercial.

Neistat has shown great creativity in working with Fortune 500 and other traditional media companies.He created a video for Nike called Make It Count. It has tallied 24 million views to date.

Casey Neistat + Nike = Make It Count

Nice choice of cover photo. Neistat is a marketer par excellence.

The $21,000 First Class Airplane Seat has racked up 31 million views since he published it in September 2016.

Casey Neistat +  Emirates = The $21,000 First Class Airplane Seat

Millenials Didn’t Invent Click-Bait

Millenials didn’t invent click-bait and they sure didn’t invent sensationalism in news stories. Click-bait was rampant in the mid to late 1990s. In fact, marketers were much more likely to link an enter button directly to an affiliate, to pop up three browser consoles on you and cloak their search engine spam so that you ended up at a different site after clicking a search engine result than you intended.

Exaggeration and hyperbole have been with us since long before the internet. In the 1890s, a circulation battle between Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst led both men to ratchet up the headlines into increasingly well, click-baitish titles. Eventually this form of news writing became known as yellow journalism.

Yellow Journalism
Yellow Journalism was the 19th century’s version of clickbait

Forbes Highest Paid YouTube Stars

Forbes now publishes a list of The Highest Paid You Tube Stars. The top 12 names on the list earned a combined $70.5 million in the 12 months ending in June, 2016. That was up 23% from the previous year. Casey Neistat just had a nice pay day himself.

Top Youtubers
2016 Incomes of Top Youtubers


CNN Pays $25 Million for Neistat’s Beme But Will Shut It Down In Two Months?

On November 28, 2016, Youtube star Casey Neistat announced that he had sold his app Beme to CNN. The media reported the price at twenty-five million dollars. The next day, Beme announced that they would be shutting the app down in two months. Beme was a video sharing app that never quite caught on. So why did it command such a price and why did Neistat make out so well? We should keep in mind that Neistat formed Beme with cofounder Matt Hackett. Beme had also raised $2.6 million in seed funding. It is a reasonable guess that Neistat is looking at making $5 to $10 million pre-tax from the deal.

CNN Wants Viewers That Typically Wouldn’t Be Engaging With Them

The reason CNN is willing to pay $25 million and put resources into Casey Neistat is because Neistat is an expert at appealing to a demographic that CNN views as essential. That demographic is of course that buzziest of buzzwords, “Millenials.” CNN is already doing well with this demographic. Comscore’s Reports show CNN as the leader in millennial reach in the news and information category. But CNN wants to do even better, and they have considerable competition. This deal is a win-win proposition.

Traditional Media Companies are Competing for Millenials

You get an idea of the importance media companies place on this demographic when you consider the investments of NBC. NBC has made two $200 million investments in BuzzFeed, Inc. The investments value the company at a cool $1.7 billion. NBC also invested $200 million in Vox Media, an investment that valued that company at $1 billion. Vox is a multimedia company that counts the Verge, SB Nation, Vox and Polygon Gaming amongst its assets. These deals have allowed NBC to explore strategic partnerships. NBC can sell inventory to advertisers for Buzzfeed. Buzzfeed, in turn, becomes a strong distribution channel in short-form video content.

Credibility and Authenticity. Not Just Buzzwords!

Neistat’s videos demonstrate better than anything else the kind of credibility and authenticity that Neistat can bring to CNN. Though Neistat has announced he will no longer create a daily vlog, he will continue to own and run his Youtube channel. Neistat had already built a subscriber base of 500,000 on Youtube when he made the decision to publish his first daily vlog on March 24 2015. Five months later, he passed one million subscribers. Another five months brought another doubling. He had two million subscribers by Feb 2016. He would pass six million subscribers before the end of the year.

Neither CNN nor Neistat have given too many specifics of the deal. We do know that Neistat and Hackett will have the considerable resources of CNN behind them. The pair plan to hire dozens of new staff members including content creators, producers, and developers. CNN and the Beme crew sound committed to this project. If they are, everyone will benefit. We marketers can look forward to some exciting, fresh ideas for how traditional companies can appeal to audiences that wouldn’t otherwise be engaging with them. There should be much to learn.

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