An entire generation is being target marketed through YouTube videos, encouraging them to purchase products and music, likely without their parents even realizing it.
If you think most YouTube videos don’t include a component of product placement, think again. Many YouTubers hawk merchandise to keep their channel alive.
For instance, YouTuber Olga Kay earns $100,000 to $130,000 a year as a full-time YouTube content creator, according The New York Times. She posts silly videos about juggling helium balloons and pizza, and earns money through a combination of advertising, sponsorships and merchandising, including selling a line of socks that is displayed in the background in her videos.
There’s NintendoFanGirl, who reviews Nintendo games and Pokémon cards in her videos. She also sells her own line of T-shirts.
Unlisted Leaf posts videos showing a Pokémon fan as he opens packs of cards, revealing coveted full-art and hollo cards. I can tell you from personal experience that watching these videos encourages kids to want to buy more Pokémon cards. Unlisted Leaf sells T-shirts and stickers, too.
Kids who love Minecraft rave about Captain Sparklez, a YouTuber who posts videos of himself playing the game. He also hawks T-shirts and other merchandise as well as songs from his playlist on iTunes.
And then there’s Tyler Oakley, who posts funny videos about myself and brings awareness to LGBT youth as well as other social issues related to healthcare, education and suicide prevention – all great causes. However, causes need money and he still uses the channel to sell coffee cups, T-shirts, sweatshirts and iPhone covers.