HILDA MARTIN KASYANJU – 301269932 DO WE EVEN NEED THIS STUFF?
DO WE EVEN NEED THIS STUFF?
A Close Look at The Influence of YouTubers Influence on Youth Culture and their Over Consumption of Goods Endorsed by Them.
Have you ever wondered how much the world would consume if there was no celebrity culture to endorse the goods and products up for sale by different companies? The idea of celebrities transforming their fame to become product brands has created a drive for consumers to recreate an image of themselves that mirrors that of the celebrities, as well as advertisers aim and goal to use them for that purpose. With there being different types of celebrities today and multiple platforms for those celebrities to brand themselves, this paper will examine how YouTubers specifically, in the beauty category (makeup), push us as the consumers to overconsumption of goods they endorse by looking at the ideas and or theories revolving authenticity, branding spaces, consumer and youth culture, affect, as well as class, taste and habitus.
This paper will work towards dissecting the works behind the overconsumption of products that advertisers seem to use these YouTubers to advertise, that we as consumers feel the need to consume because at this point celebrities have become the object of imitation. Their highly-publicized personalized personality and individual qualities work as a form of apparent charisma that has the quality of gaining people’s attention. Looking specifically at makeup YouTubers, specifically Kyrah Stewart and Kathleen Lights as Famous Youtubers, I have followed for quite some time, have become the objects that us as the audience and consumers are guilty of imitating. It has come to that extent where, as discussed in class the commodities have become produced as signs in terms of creating an increase in consumption.
Before getting deep into the paper, it is best to understand the definition of YouTubers featured under the makeup category. YouTubers are frequent users of the video-sharing website, YouTube. They create content that is funny, inspirational and educative to the viewers. With YouTube being the internet’s second most powerful search engine, the content created and uploaded by amateurs receive a high rate of viewings. That said, because YouTube’s slogan is “broadcast yourself”, several companies and organizations have noticed the great number of viewers certain Youtubers have and have invested in using those YouTubers to promote their business’s products in return of a pay or reduced price of their products.
Based on the comments of makeup YouTubers, the viewers are female and can be categorized as teenagers to young adults. In the decision-making process, as discussed by Brown and Hayes in their article, Influencer Marketing, “consumers tend to copy others. Influencer marketing is a variant of marketing that focuses on the decision-making process.” Before the rise of Web 2.0, consumers based their purchasing decision on advertisements and professional advice. Although, these days, personal opinions and experiences have become one of the most valuable sources of information to assist users in their purchase decision-making process. Nowadays, youth culture’s purchasing decisions are often based on online reviews and experiences, making YouTube the perfect place to promote products, services and in based on the case of this paper, makeup brands.
Based on the lecture on Youth Culture + Counter Culture = Consumer Culture youth culture has created ideal spaces for massive economic expansions, meaning that with them creating these ideal spaces, they create a platform for YouTubers to create content that is influenced by brands to sell their product. As this form of advertising began to grow, marketers began to see consumers as self-realizing conscious agents who can create their own self, although their own self is created by imitating the self of the YouTubers.
Back to the idea of Youtubers being the object of imitation, in this case makeup promoting Youtubers, they have earned the title of being the object of imitation and not normal celebrities since their interactivity with viewers is not as limited as the interaction common celebrities such as actors have with their audiences and or fans, when you look at their constant paid for or self-willing promotion of makeup such as and most common, Sephora products. Although, I am not saying that actors are not objects of imitation, but in this case, Youtubers are dominating that field of description as objects of imitation.
Although these makeup YouTubers are the object of imitation, the lifestyle they portray is a manifestation of habitus. By promoting a certain makeup brand, they categorize what would count as having good taste by using the brands they promote on their channel, thus lowering what they do not prefer or claim is not good enough as being bad taste. Although trying to implement the idea that they are not famous, and just normal people who love to create content that their viewers would enjoy, the class that is translated to the viewers from the quality of their videos and purchases that they do hauls on in their channel presents the idea that they are branded by the lifestyle the expose on their channel even though they act like they are authentic.
There is an intense desire on the part of the consumer to have an edge like the YouTuber; because they act like consumers as well, we, as the viewers, fell the need to be at the same level of class the famous YouTubers are in, that includes; knowing a little bit more about the best and newest products than those around us, and to know them sooner, a little more fully on the trending brands on the market. Mentioned in Frank Furedi’s article Celebrity Culture, “today’s celebrities are promoted as both special and utterly ordinary.” Having enough understanding of Kyrah’s channel, it is evident that she tries to create an authentic mood that would relate to the consumer culture, hence why, as properly explained by Furedi, she is “celebrated for [her] unique personality and attractive qualities while appearing to treat them as normal people facing the humdrum problems and disappointments of everyday life.” To uphold her authenticity, she includes personal vlogs with her husband, Kaelin where they publicize their lives which include various amounts of mundane moments, thus creating a branded space for herself, where she uses it to incorporate makeup promotions for her viewers to see.
Moving towards Kathleen’s channel as another demonstration of the authenticity idea, she too tries to create authenticity around her channel. She might try express her authenticity, although that plays as a tactic to add value to the product she is endorsed to advertise by creating content that resonates with the lives of the viewers. With that said, the “disenchanted mass of young people, seemed like they have lost any sense of identity or of self”, suggested by Adam Arvidsson in his article From Counter Culture to Consumer Culture, where he also discusses on the fact that “consumption would supply compensation for the frustrations of an alienated life,” which as seen in Kathleen’s channel seems to depict that idea of alienating atmosphere that seems to act as a branding space where it binds her and the viewer.
That said, they both use their platform as a branding space where they invite the viewer to view products that they both want them to see. The social relations both these YouTubers have or try to create with their viewers give space to the spaces they occupy, thus being a medium through which consumption is practiced in terms of acting like a lighthouse for the makeup brand that is being promoted.
Kyrah and Kathleen’s personal life conveys the implication of the “removal of cultural barriers between celebrity and the consumer of popular culture,” Furedi states, thus creating more consumption from her viewers and as mentioned in lecture reason being that consumption is essential to a YouTuber’s channel due to the fact that with creating an ordinary presentation of themselves, they too create a unique presentation of themselves whilst looking at the fact that they are creating value to a product by showcasing the outcome that many cannot achieve because they do not have the product advertised, thus referring us back to the authenticity theory.
In the article, Celebrity Culture and Materialisms written by Edin Lakasing and Joanna Sargent, it states that celebrity culture, in this case referring to YouTube celebrity culture, “in its current guise, is a malign influence on women. Purporting to encourage independence and self- expression, it sells this back to girls and young women as the shallowest kind of consumerism and self-gratification.” The whole idea behind my essay is to understand the YouTuber’s influence on the overconsumption of goods and products consumed by their viewers; that said, using Kyrah Stewart and Kathleen Lights’ YouTube channel featuring makeup hauls and usage, although seemingly sincere, depicts the statement that Lakasing and Sargent have stated in their articles that with trying to promote and encourage independence and self-expression, what they are actually doing, even though not endorsed to, is selling both the product and the idea that establishes them as better than the viewers themselves who act as consumers in hopes of trying to reach the same level of class they are in; such as, buying various amount of products from different stores, specifically and based on their content, Sephora, that have the same purpose and just expressing how they make them feel great, although in Kyrah’s daily blogs, for example she seems to have minimal products on her face than the amount she says she buys that she loves to use for an everyday look. So, to question, do they want their viewers to be great as the claims on their makeup channels or minimal like in her daily vlogs or Kathleen’s ‘let’s chat’ videos?
That said, branching from the previous paragraph, ads conducted within a YouTube celebrity culture, teach and influence us to consume goods as well as signs/meanings of the product to create an illusion of being part of a class that situates around the celebrities themselves where our taste as viewers, would only be classified as good if we revolve our purchases to match theirs, pushing us to over consumption of products we nor they do not really need, thus enhancing the idea that although they create an influencing and luring atmosphere, they are still advertising.
Looking at why YouTuber celebrity culture is so important in advertising is because, in Kyrah and Kathleen’s case, they have both created a virtual relationship, that non-YouTubers including celebrity actresses such Angelina Jolie who would promote the same products do not have, meaning that these two YouTubers, for example, have created a medium through which a strong amount of consumption is practiced. This has then become an important play for brands who want to enhance the consumption of the brands, because with youth culture, the viewers, who are the consumers, have created ideal spaces for massive economic expansions by centering their consumption on, as Arvidsson referred to later in this article, “the notion of lifestyle choice”
Now, when it comes with how celebrity culture has shaped consumers through their advertisements, the fact that we as the consumers have created this relationship with these YouTubers, we have appropriated our lives based on theirs, meaning that these YouTube videos with ads that have themes that we think relates to our lives but slight more out of this world, in terms of the warm tones but perfect lighting, have appropriated our lifestyle choices as well; with applying an example, you could see that we, as the viewers have been programmed to believe that we need certain products to be who we think we want to be based on the YouTube celebrity we see and admire using the same products.
Based on lecture, the language of advertising is dynamic. It must be flexible, easy to understand an adaptable. Because consumers want to improve their self-image by choosing brands which have relevant meanings to their self-concept, YouTubers, especially promoting and or advertising in high end brands and their products are to portray qualities that would resonate, in terms of understanding, with their viewers. That said, these YouTubers, referring to Kyrah and Kathleen again, behave like consumers by playing the role of the consumer who are promoters of brands who have sponsored their purchase and video. With that, the presentation of their experience with the products in their videos resonates with the viewers, which fuels the consumption of those products; an example can be Kyrah promoting Sephora by claiming how she uses certain products from the Sephora makeup line to achieve different types of looks, that other brands might not be successful in achieving. This demonstrates the affect theory where at this point, the viewers are feel like they are in the same situation as Kyrah where they see how she lives her life with the aid of the products she is promoting, and how these products would aid them in theirs as well.
With all that said, YouTubers promoting makeup brands and products have been creating a platform that not only directly promote the makeup brand and products, but they too display a form of personalization as a form of marketing, where they lure their viewers in by depicting an authentic-claimed life that stands between what can be achieved by a normal viewer as well as what cannot, such as they high class representation of self which dissolves in their social class self which they try to depict in order to create an affect towards the viewers. And lastly, their self-branding at the end of every video they publicize where they close with, “if you like this video, don’t forget to give it thumbs up and subscribe!” or what it translates to me is, “if you like this video, give it thumbs up so that I can get other deals from other brand companies…now let me go take all this makeup, I told you guys I wear as an everyday look off my face!” After watching and analyzing a lot makeup hauls and makeup tutorials, I end by questioning that, do we even need all this stuff, we think we need based on the YouTubers authenticity, which is pretty much a ploy to sell us products?
1. Furedi, F. (2010). Celebrity culture. Society, 47(6), 493-497.
2. Arvidsson, A. (2001). From Counterculture to Consumer Culture: Vespa and the Italian youth market. Journal of Consumer Culture, 1(1), 47-71.
3. Laskasing, E., Sargent, J. (2012). Celebrity culture and materialism. Practice Nursing, 23(11), 568-569.
4. Brown, D. and Hayes, N. (2008). Influencer marketing. Amsterdam: Elsevier/Butterworth-Heinemann. Book.