FDA asked to probe Prime

113 | Are legislators and traditional media gunning for creator-owned brands?

Issue #113 | Your reading time this week is 5 mins. 45 secs.

Welcome back to the Creator Briefing. Here’s just some of what we’re looking at this week:

  • Why 100m Threads downloads don’t mean sh*t. Just ask G+

  • The YouTuber making $1m a month from AdSense

  • Brands - be careful what you ReTweet

  • Call for PRIME drinks to face FDA probe

  • MrBeast trolls Elon Musk

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UK’s creative economy

The UK government placed some branded content in Time magazine last week. The article focused on the UK’s creative economy. Here are a few statistics from the piece:

Influence is King

This newsletter is supported by Fourth Floor – a digital marketing agency that fully understands the power of influence. Fourth Floor is an insight-led creative, social and influencer agency that enables games businesses to engage audiences, build emotional connections and get results. They build bespoke campaigns by combining any number of their services, which include advocacy, production, commerce and events. Find out how they can help your business at fourthfloor.co 

TikTok Shop to hit $20 billion by 2024

TikTok Shop is expected to hit $20 billion in gross merchandise value by the end of this year, quadrupling from a year earlier.

Dream earned £1m in YouTube Adsense in a single month

This week YouTubers Colin and Samir uploaded their interview with Dream - the American YouTuber and Twitch streamer best known for creating Minecraft content and never showing his face.

Dream (real name Clay) told the Colin and Samir show YouTube channel that some months he earns over $1m dollars from YouTube’s Adsense revenue share.

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🧵🧵🧵 High Thread count

I’m old enough to remember being scared sh*tless by the 1984 made-for-TV movie Threads -- though not old enough to remember the term birthed as slang for clothes (1926 America if you’re interested).

I won’t take up too much of your time talking about the Zuck’s new app. A thousand other outlets have covered it infinitum. But I didn’t want you to think I was ‘asleep at the wheel’ by ignoring it. So, below are a couple of NIBs covering the importance of usage over downloads along with the potential revenue earning for Meta. Here are also some pictures charting the app’s short existence:

How it started …

How Elon Musk took it …

How it’s going …

Where it’s headed.

You can follow me on Threads. Otherwise, see you on Tumblr!

Why 100m downloads don’t mean sh*t. Just ask G+

The Threads app was downloaded 100m times within its first week. That’s immense. You know who else had 100m+ downloads early on? Google+.

Both social media platforms used similar playbooks for user acquisition. Meta makes it super easy to set up a Threads account from your existing Instagram account and port your community of followers across. Google shoe-horned G+ into most Google services meaning for a while if you wanted to leave a comment on a YouTube video you had to set up a G+ account first. And, in 2011 it was easier to get out of a time-share holiday contract than it was to set up a Gmail account without first opening a G+ profile.

Ultimately what social media users want is ‘company’ and ‘conversation’. Successful platforms are populated with a tonne of similar-minded people posting content that resonates with them. What advertisers are interested in DAU and MAU (daily active users and monthly active users) not the number of downloads. By 2014 The New York Times was calling G+ “a ghost town” though at the time Google reported there were half-a-billion users of the platform.

Of course, Meta has a better track record running social media platforms than Google - remember Orkut and Google Buzz? But popularity comes with its own built-in potential hazards. If users and advertisers are on Threads, are you cannibalising Instagram and Facebook revenues and DAUs? And does that matter if, ultimately, it flows back to Zuck anyway?

Threads to contribute $8 Billion a year by 2025

Threads will reach close to 200m DAUs earning annual revenue of around $8 billion within 24 months. So says estimates from Evercore ISI analysts led by Mark Mahaney - cited in Bloomberg.

FTC: Brands should be careful what they ReTweet

Last week we dug into the new endorsement and influencer guidelines published in the US by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). You can read them again here.

US Advertising and E-Commerce Attorney Robert Freund posted some sage advice to brands this week on Twitter:

Brands, be careful with retweets. Remember that all claims by your brand must be truthful, not misleading, and substantiated at the time they are made. When you retweet, that content becomes your advertising and is subject to the same requirements.”

Unilever using influencer marketing to be “first-to-mind and first-to-cart”

FMCG giant Unilever is reframing performance media to drive both “first-to-mind and first-to-cart”. Performance Marketing World asked me on behalf of the Influencer Marketing Trade Body for comment alongside marketing experts. Here’s what I had to say about Unilever’s decision to incorporate influencer marketing throughout the sales funnel of its many household-known brands:

“There’s a dynamic tension for many brands between generating revenue for today and brand building to enable tomorrow’s revenue”.

“Influencer marketing plays a pivotal role in shaping consumer behaviour whether that is driving sales, helping customers decide which option to plump for at the consideration phase, or building brand equity at the upper reaches of the sales funnel,”

“The marketer’s approach to creator selection depends on their campaign objectives, as will be the way success is measured. Some creators excel at driving creative commerce. They’re skilled at producing click-worthy content which converts to sales. Others are adept in helping brands remain top-of-mind with target customers whilst helping brands maintain their cultural relevance. Here the content is usually purpose-led, longer in form and contains a strong storytelling element.

Two very different requirements from skilled digital-first creators with very different skill sets which demand a sophisticated and nuanced approach from influencer marketers.”

MrBeast trolls Elon Musk

Mr.Beast celebrated the launch of Threads with typical largesse. The YouTuber, businessman and philanthropist gave away a new Tesla at random to one of his new followers on the Meta-owned platform.

I can’t help but think his choice of prize was a little mean-spirited. After all, Elon Musk is the same billionaire who owns both Tesla and Twitter - the platform cloned by Meta to create Threads. To rub salt in the wound further, the Tesla prize sports the Threads logo on its bonnet.

F*** You Pay Me … for this report

FYPM, the platform where creators anonymously share their experiences collaborating with different brands, has published a new report.

Three years in the making the 2023 Creator Pricing Benchmark Report aims to help brands answer questions like: Are we paying influencers too much? What’s the market rate for a Reel? Should we pay micro-influencers cash? Or is free product still okay?

A key hurdle to overcome for apps like FYPM is scale. FYPM aims to be the Glassdoor for brand collabs. The data driving its report findings come from 16,010 crowdsourced brand deal reviews mainly from the US. Most reviews were submitted by FYPM creators, with about 7,279 coming from brands. Glassdoor meanwhile enjoys 50 million monthly active users and holds reviews of 1.3 million companies.

The FYPM report is yours to buy for $500.

FDA asked to probe Prime

US Senator Charles Schumer has asked the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate PRIME - the Logan Paul and KSI-owned drink sensation.

The two YouTubers-come-boxers-come-entrepreneurs launched PRIME Hydration 18 months ago as a sports drink whilst PRIME Energy was launched at the start of this year. It’s PRIME Energy which packs a wallop in terms of caffeine (the equivalent of six cans of Coca-Cola or a couple of Red Bulls). Critics including Mr Schumer say it’s hard to tell the drinks apart from their advertising. It’s probably important to note here that Hydration comes in a bottle while Energy is can-based.

And here’s the rub …

Who is the target audience for PRIME? A gallon of digital ink in MSM suggests it’s school kids around the world. Yet PRIME Energy comes with a warning label: ‘not recommended for children under 18’.

Is traditional media gunning for creator-owned, creator-led products unfairly, or should more be done here to protect young consumers?

Meanwhile, this week Logan Paul’s brother Jake fell foul of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). A promoted tweet for the bookmaker, Ladbrokes, contained an image that featured Jake Paul.

The ad watchdog noted that Jake Paul had around 3m followers under 18 years of age on YouTube, TikTok and Instagram. Ultimately they considered that the Ladbroke ad was irresponsible and breached their code.

Logan Paul gets engaged

YouTuber and entrepreneur Logan Paul got engaged this week to Danish model Nina Agdal. The two met in May last year. If I was a cynic (and I’m not, obvs. but I was) I’d question why the private, intimate moment of the proposal was videoed for his socials and why Paul used the announcement on Twitter to appeal directly to Elon Musk to overturn Agdal’s Twitter ban.

I’d also perhaps comment on the timeliness of the engagement announcement coming as it does at the same time that a US Senator has asked the US Food and Drug Administration to investigate one of Paul’s most successful companies - PRIME.

The cynic might say the timing has the same vibe as the time Logan’s brother Jake got married Tana Mongeau.  But,cynics are simply thwarted romantics’ and, as I say, I’m not a cynic (obvs.).

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