Money is a complicated subject. Some YouTubers avoid talking about it to avoid seeming disingenuous. Others flaunt their money around to impress the viewers. If you choose not to talk about money as a creator, you have to be cautious with how you make brand deals, sell things, and even talk about it when the topic arises. I want to compare a couple similar YouTubers and how they present financial related topics to their viewers. There are YouTubers that don’t frequently flaunt their wallets.
Mark (Markiplier) Fischbach is a let’s play YouTuber with over 22 million subscribers. He has not released how much he makes, but it’s safe to assume he’s well off. Recently he made a $19k donation to Crisis Help Line via his friend Sean (Jacksepticeye) McLaughlin’s charity stream. Mark and Jack launched a clothing brand separate from their merchandise. They started talking about the brand a lot and seemed to be pushing it adamantly. The viewers did not take to well to everything. There were many complaints that the clothing is too overpriced. Both Youtubers responded saying that the clothing is high quality and the price is where it needs to be. Viewers came back saying that the clothes are made in China and not ethically sourced. They pointed out how the clothing was basic black t-shirts, sweatshirts, and plain cheap beanies. I’m not a clothing expert, I can’t tell you if the clothing is of quality. But if these many people say it’s not, it doesn’t matter. The customer is always right.
Viewers were also not too keen on the constant pushing of their brand. I had a job where I had to sell low quality jewelry and bad credit cards to keep my job. I know how people don’t like to be sold to. Whether the product is good or not, people don’t like salesmen. I learned how to sell around that aversion. Mark does not know how to do that, and I don’t think he realizes it. When I pushed too hard, the customer left or yelled at me. Mark doesn’t have that face to face interaction to realize he needs to pull back. He goes all in, with this video proving that.
Mark uploaded this video recently. He’s getting a kick out of a promotion he saw for Tesla. Mark owns a Tesla and when he did, he got a promotional code in which if 50 people buy a Tesla with that code, he gets a free Roadster. The Roadster goes from 0-60 in 2 seconds and costs 200k at the basic level. Mark either doesn’t have the money for it or can’t justify paying for it, understandably. So he makes this video where he’s joking around about it, throwing around his code. He laughs throughout the video, but some fans aren’t laughing. To many viewers, when they see a YouTuber say something in a video, they feel like the creator is saying it directly to them and not to all the viewers. So many viewers were upset, feeling like Mark wanted them to buy an expensive car for his own benefit. While the video may be all fun and wishful thinking, it could have had some changes to prevent this unrest.
Felix (Pewdiepie) Kjellberg is the largest YouTuber on the platform with over 76 million subscribers. He doesn’t like talking about money and dislikes articles about his money. But when an estimate of how much money he brings in comes up, he tends to laugh at it, insinuating he makes much more. Felix has been fairly humble and smart with how his talks about money in general. When he is wearing pricy things or makes a big purchase, he doesn’t bring it up. He and his fiance, Marzia Bisognin, have a clothing brand called Tsuki. The clothing is ethically sourced in Canada. The clothing is a bit pricey for the average person, but not many are complaining about it.
There was a video released around the same time as Mark’s, going through Felix’s closet. Many love and want the clothing he wears in his videos. There’s even a tumblr page dedicated to finding Felix’s clothes. Felix doesn’t usually talk about or show off what he wears. So when this video was released, it is interesting to notice the reaction. Everyone loved the video, despite most of his clothing being designer.
The Difference: The Brands
Manufactured in China
Sweatshirt Material is 70% Cotton / 24% Polyester / 6% Spandex
Themes are: Logo
What is it: “Our goal in building this brand is to give you a voice. We want to create a brand that listens to what you need and gives you what you’re missing. Most importantly, we want CLOAK to be a brand that you’re proud to represent. That is the pounding heart of CLOAK.”
Manufactured in Canada
Sweatshirt Material is 80% cotton / 20% polyester. Trim 98% cotton / 2% spandex
Themes are: Minimalism, Japanese
What is it: “TSUKI [つき] is Japanese for 'moon'.
Unisex clothing and home products, ethically made.
Created and designed by Felix Kjellberg and Marzia Bisognin.”
Design and fabric aside, what stands out to me is the selling. Earlier I mentioned how people do not like to be sold things. The wording on the Cloak site is over the top, trying to sell. Tsuki simply tells you what it is and lets the clothing sell itself. Not to mention how often the brands are mentioned in the videos of the creators. Mark and Jack talked about the brand in every video that came out after the announcement, throughout the video for a while. Felix mentioned the brand a couple times briefly. If you want to sell something to your viewers, you have to let the product sell itself. Unless your skilled at subtly selling sketchy products like I was, you have to take a step back.
How to Talk to Your Viewers About Money
- Tell the viewers what the video is and why you are posting it in a clear set apart segment.
- If you are selling something, give as much time to it as you would a sponsorship.
- Address all concerns before they can be brought up.
- Do not try to sell!
- Be honest and no different than how you usually act.
- Consult many other brands for brands and merch.
- Consult designers.
- Ensure you have the proper manufacturer for your brand.
- Don’t show off your personal charitable donations often.
- Don’t suggest things your fanbase can’t buy.
- Talk about money once in a while, don’t avoid it completely.
- Ask your fanbase what they think.
- Be yourself.