In my endless quest for Taco Bell-themed media content, I came across something that both confused me while simultaneously piquing my interests. The video above features YouTube Renaissance man and SourceFed creator Philip DeFranco partaking in some kind of Doritos cross nightmare taco viral campaign.
Aside from promoting the ludicrous types of stomach-cramping eating such a taco surely guarantees, this campaign illustrates the interesting relationship that major advertisers and YouTube stars have developed over these golden digital video years.
The word “viral,” no matter how bad it may taste in our mouths has become synonymous with YouTube as a platform and by association, the stars that push it forward. From the moment that advertisers realized that YouTubers were capable of pulling in millions and millions of viewers, ad men jumped at the chance to skim off any piece of that viral magic.
Things have changed though. Advertisers are still salivating over campaigns turned viral, but instead of one-hit wonders hocking car insurance, companies are now turning to bonafide YouTube celebrities. They are doing this not to capitalize on the fleeting popularity of viral videos, but to harness the star power of YouTubers like DeFranco.
It’s an incredible shift for creators. It means that advertisers, people who are paid very well to know “what’s hip,” are seeing YouTubers as actual stars and not just alternative to them.