The UK branch of the YouTube family is finally getting the Beacon treatment. YouTube has announced a new wave of television and print ads to raise the mainstream profile of its select creators. This round of ads will target UK markets and will feature Vice News, UK-based entertainers Slow Mo Guys and beauty and style guru Zoella.
All three channels will be featured in television ads and on billboards in key markets across the UK. The U.S. version of the program has previously highlighted Michelle Phan, Bethany Mota, Rosanna Pansino, and Epic Rap Battles. Despite already having considerable backing from the Hearst Corporation and a big new cash infusion from A&E networks, Vice is a two-time winner, having been featured in both the U.S. and U.K. campaigns.
The program has certainly boosted the visibility of the channels selected, but that’s only a small part of the goal. It’s also about raising the profile of YouTube itself and introducing its diverse stable of content to people outside the site’s core demographic. The ads are designed to make YouTube more visible and accessible to an older and less internet savvy audience who might not currently be choosing YouTube as their primary source of entertainment. It’s a logical next step for the platform which still struggles with its image despite being the most popular online video destination on the web.
The creators highlighted by the Beacon ads tell us something about how YouTube wants to be seen by the mainstream public. This latest round follows the pattern that was established with the U.S. version of the program. Charming and perky Zoella, dude-friendly but not controversial Slow Mo Guys, and edgy but informative Vice News together mark out the territory that YouTube wants to claim. These creators represent some of the most successful genres on YouTube, but there are a few notable pieces missing.
PewDiePie is the most popular and subscribed creator on YouTube with 30 million subscribers, but YouTube has yet to feature any of its prominent gaming creators. Also missing are any of YouTube’s popular LGBTQ creators. Tyler Oakley is arguably YouTube’s biggest breakout star this year, but entertainers like Tyler and Hannah Hart have yet to receive a mainstream push. These creators reach massive audiences online, but it’s fair to say that their content may hold less appeal for the traditional audiences YouTube is trying to reach. Still it’s worth noting that the self-portrait YouTube is painting isn’t quite “photo realistic.”