Are YouTube Stars Jake and Logan Paul Branded Merchandise Geniuses?
One of the biggest debates surrounding YouTube today centers on the issue of monetization. With many creators struggling to get paid for their work, some have turned to other streams of revenue. While the platform works well for advertisers in general, one specific aspect allows creators to hawk merch like nobody’s business. Much of YouTube is geared towards children, and creators know that kids love branded merchandise (aka swag). While the FCC has regulations stipulating the amount of advertising children can be exposed to on TV programs, YouTube has no such oversight. This of course means that creators can freely promote their online merch stores as much or as little as they like.
No creators, perhaps, have taken advantage of this system more than the Paul brothers. Jake and Logan, the blonde bros from Ohio who probably have as many haters as they do followers, currently boast of a total of 40 million YouTube subscribers between their channels. The two use this platform to sell branded merchandise such as T-shirts, hoodies, shorts and sweatpants to fans across the globe.
Just how profitable is this business? Well, in the first 11 and a half months of 2017, Fanjoy, an e-commerce retailer that sells merchandise for popular YouTubers like Jake Paul and Casey Neistat, shipped 800,000 items. That’s a whole lotta swag.
Writing for New York Magazine, Chris Stokel-Walker decided to bite the bull—ahem, perform the service of watching 50 Paul brothers’ videos in order to find out just how pervasive their merch-plugging has become. In these videos alone, Stokel-Walker found 195 mentions of branded merchandise, meaning that the Paul brothers promoted their stores once every 142 seconds. Their stores feature a wide range of products, mostly apparel: $28 t-shirts, $42 shorts, $54.95 hoodies and backpacks, and a Jake Paul windbreaker pullover for $90. Needless to say, this is the same kind of stuff that promotional apparel distributors sell everyday. Even more needless to say: The promo business could make a killing off of YouTube stars.
Whether you think the Paul brothers are annoying, or soulless marketing hounds, their popularity translates quite well into profit, proving that promotional merchandise has the power to turn a revenue-averse platform such as YouTube into a veritable cash cow. In the words of Jake Paul himself, “Buy dat merch. Buy dat merch. Buy dat merch. Buy dat merch. Buy dat merch.” Did we mention that he’s also a poet?
Tom Higgins is the associate content editor and official Kid Rock beat reporter for the Promo Marketing Media Group.