My friend Carla Cook, editor-in-chief of this fine publication you’re reading, asked me to write an article this week. My response was “I’m scared!” Carla’s response? “ Don’t be scared. Be Graceless.” So here you go.
Carla’s request was to write about the entertainment industry from my point of view. I’m not IN entertainment—I don’t write, I don’t act, I still flip out when I see my actor neighbors on TV (last night!), and I don’t market films or shows. But my friends and colleagues do. I have a niche view of entertainment because I’m a product person. I am a marketer who helps companies make more money with their products through collaborations in entertainment. Licensing, promotions….stuff like that.
My curiosity these days is with the shift of tweens and teens switching their viewing from traditional TV to YouTube. Unless you have a teenager in your house or are buying media for a big brand, you probably have no clue that this is happening. As a product person, I’d like to understand how I can help my clients continue to make money with this shift, but it’s so counter-intuitive to me. What’s the generational comparative equivalent? Horse & carriage vs. automobile? Digital vs. vinyl? This is so not me – I skipped out on VidCon to go wine tasting in Sonoma. I’m a ShondaLand / ABC marketer’s dream viewer. So this activity is a stretch.
I’m starting out with Hannah Hart’s My Drunk Kitchen. As an old fart, I learned about her through archaic means of advertising: a billboard on 3rd Street at The Grove, and a Variety panel to teach old farts about how the young ’uns are consuming content. My initial observation is WOWZERS she has how many different shows on her channel? Then I look at her numbers. I am Subscriber #2,223,584. Yes, I’d say people are paying attention.
The first episode I watch is Hannah drinking something bubbly and making homemade soap. She’s funny. It looks like a plug for a tea company…and it is. I’m not going to make homemade soap, drunk or otherwise. Next up is an episode called Coconut Popsicles. This one is a how-to for making, you guessed it, coconut popsicles. It’s a plug for a coconut milk brand and a cross-promotion for Kati Morton’s channel on mental health. Hannah’s not drunk on her Mason jar concoction, and my thoughts lead to coveting the red SMEG fridge [Ed: Now I want one too.] on the set instead of the coconut popsicles.
I give it a few more tries with Hannah and check out How to Ask if a Girl is Gay and What your Lesbian Friend is Actually Thinking…ding ding! These are funny. Hannah Hart is a #graceless gal IMHO – I’d have a drink with her and I’d love to work with her and learn from her. But will I come back regularly? Probably not.
I head to see what John Green and the vlogbrothers are all about, because I cried my eyes out last weekend watching The Fault in Our Stars…..on HBO. Once again, old-fart consumption of a YA book that was popular three years ago. I am Subscriber #2,632,726 and begin with Book Tower for Miles. I would have enjoyed this in my adolescence but now? Meh….
I then seek out John Green’s episodes hoping to get some inkling of my love for Augustus Waters. I start with 454 Days: Understanding America’s Ridiculous Political Campaigns…he’s cute, but I get bored. Next up is VELOCIRAPTORS and then Honey Badgers: The Crazy Truth. I wish I had this when I was younger—much more informative and visually interesting than the Encyclopedia Brittanica. But now? I can’t handle this….where’s my schmoopy love story?
After an hour of YouTube viewing, I have to stop. I’m incredibly bored. I circle back to my business desire to understand these personalities, and I read an article from a year ago in the New Yorker. According to them, I’ve “joined the Amish,” and I’m wondering how many of my #graceless peers live in this clueless bubble too.
Is it a generational thing that I’d rather get my sense of community and connection through the people in my life versus a digital personality? I don’t want a connection with my content, no matter the device I’m on. I want my scripted, soap-opera-like content to deliver an escape. So how do I begin to crack this nut for my current business? I’ve got to find something that speaks to me so I can “get it”.
I’m curious – Who or what do #graceless women follow on YouTube, Vine, or Periscope? And WHY??? I’m feeling very uncool and boring right now. Tweet at me or comment on the Facebook post.