Producing branded videos on YouTube is tricky business.  Much of your audience is there because they’re sick of television ads and all that is corporately produced.   They like the personal engagement they have with their favorite YouTube star, and consider that person a friend.  But when that friend turns around and sells them something, watch out.  Creators can quickly find themselves in very hot water.  Perhaps it’s akin to having an old friend call to supposedly catch up… and then try and rope you into a pyramid scheme.

My theory on branded videos is that viewers don’t mind being sold, as long as you 1) be honest about it, and 2) entertain their pants off.  An example of the latter is Volkswagen’s viral hit with the little Darth Vader.  The title of the video even includes the word “commercial” (part 1 of my theory).

I’m not saying I entertained the pants off my audience with “Brain Game Showdown”, but I think I delivered a solid Fupler episode, and perhaps a little extra.  I also didn’t try and hide the fact that it was sponsored by Verizon.  Not disclosing such sponsorship can lead your audience to assume it was a trick, and that can get ugly. Should I have told my subscribers up front? Perhaps. But that could have also put them on the defensive, and hey… that’s no way to start watching a video.

Incorporating such a technical service, “4G LTE”, into this traditional setting wasn’t easy, but that’s where good ole Kevin Fupler comes in handy….

What do you think? Is there another way to soften the branded-video-blow? Feel free to comment below!