There is nothing like the completely polarizing power of six-digit luxury wristwatches to class up YouTube’s list of advertising affiliates. Rolex has recently announced that their ads will begin running before YouTube videos, further reminding the 99% of what will never be. No longer will you have to suffer through the undignified experience of viewing ads for Old Spice prior to watching Cookie Monster sing “Call Me Maybe” for the 900th time. For those of you unsteady about Rolex flaunting their universal symbol of prosperity on YouTube, rest assured, this move by Rolex speaks volumes about the future of digital video.
While the Rolex I bought on Alameda Street in East L.A. instantly qualifies me to speak at length about the luxury watch company, I figured I could also get some help from Forbes’ designer watch columnist (yes, such a thing exists), Ariel Adams. In the article announcing the decision from Rolex, Adams writes, “While Rolex does have a very large advertising budget, they are notoriously picky about where they choose to advertise.” The fact that Rolex has decided to channel those advertising bucks towards the notoriously eclectic advertising of YouTube is huge. A company that is known for their high-class clientele pushing ads on YouTube brings an enormous amount of legitimacy and evolution to the video sharing site.
Either Rolex hasn’t done their research (unlikely), or the decision to run ads before videos is a clear indicator of the key demographics that are now visiting YouTube. According to YouTube, the average age of visitors to the site are men between the ages of 18 and 24. Combine this with the fact that the majority of men who own Rolex watches and post at the Rolex Forums are between the ages of 45 and 54, and you start to see Rolex’s thought process. It is clear that middle-aged men who typically spent the most time watching live television are now moving towards YouTube for their entertainment needs. With digital video growing to meet the needs of all demographics, this shift in viewer demographics may introduce a more mature type of programming to YouTube.
Even though the big names of YouTube are still tailoring towards 18-30 year-olds, YouTube’s list of sponsored channels is not so specific. Much of YouTube’s premium content is geared towards a more silver-haired audience, proving that the video-sharing tycoons are conscious of the shrinking age gap.
Luxury brands like Rolex are quickly beginning to realize that there is content that will compliment their pre-rolled ads. This is yet another step in the rapid rise of YouTube becoming the premiere place for video entertainment. While YouTube fights to compete with major networks, ad support from Rolex is a vote of confidence towards how online video is swiftly evolving.