OhMyFest (2)

OhMyFest! – The event’s first edition celebrates Quebec YouTubers

July 22, 2016

The first edition of OhMyFest! was held last weekend at the Monument-National. The event, dedicated to the YouTube phenomenon, was inspired by VidCon (California) and Video City (Paris) and was organized in collaboration with VRAK.TV, Slingshot, Zoofest, and several other partners. And that’s where my colleague Marie-Pier Lessard and I caught our first Pokémon.

OhMyFest! Is kind of like a youth convention, it’s a place where young people can meet their online idols and interact with them during discussion panels, conferences, and autograph sessions. The fact that young people are flocking to events such as this one in order to meet these celebrities is a testament to the popularity of YouTube. Fans’ devotion and admiration for their favourite Internet stars such as Aiekillu, Cynthia Dulude, and PL Cloutier made more than one parent present realize that this was an excellent “TEEN101” class. For those who weren’t able to make it, here’s a short introduction.

What is a YouTuber?
As the name suggests, a YouTuber is a star on YouTube. They can be commentators, vloggers, or comedians who have built a loyal audience through a series of video clips they upload online. There are a thousand different kinds of YouTube videos: product reviews, unboxing videos, tutorials, science experiments, funny videos, video game livestreams, and the list goes on and on. The most frequent themes are humour, beauty, lifestyle, and vlogs devoted to every issue. Here is a rundown of the most common types of YouTube videos.

Vlogs – This is short for “video blog”. These videos allow fans to discover a personal side of the celebrity as they talk about their day or whatever is currently on their mind. One of the most successful vloggers in the world is Casey Neistat, a New Yorker with more than 3.7 million subscribers to his channel. Closer to home, PL Cloutier and Emma Bossé regularly upload videos where they talk about their day-to-day lives.

Lifestyle vignettes – Many YouTubers specialize in producing videos that give their audience tips and tricks on a variety of subjects, from crafting, to where to go out, to anything related to DIY (do-it-yourself) projects.

Beauty tutorials – This is when vloggers talk about makeup, hairstyle, beauty tips, products, and tutorials of all kinds. In the United States and Europe, a few YouTubers have even collaborated with major cosmetics brands. This is the case for Jaclyn Hill who has partnered with BECCA, as well as Manny Guttierez with Makeup Geek. In Quebec, Lise Watier has benefited from the loyalty of Alexandra Larouche’s subscribers and has collaborated with the YouTube star twice.

Video game demos (gaming and live stream) – This type of video has become incredibly popular. In essence, YouTubers record themselves playing video games while commenting on the action. Millions of viewers watch these kinds of videos every day. PiewDiePie is one of the most popular YouTubers in this category with more than 46 million subscribers (and a salary estimated at US$7.5 million). In Quebec, Mahdi Ba has recently started uploading live streams. Steelorse, for his part, has more than 300,000 subscribers. The phenomenon is so popular that Twitch, one of the world’s most popular live streaming video platforms (especially for video games), was bought by Amazon in 2014 for US$970 million.

Who produces these videos?
Passionate individuals who one day decided to speak directly to the camera. Over time, they developed a loyal following who appreciates and interacts with them. In fact, several young people present at OhMyFest! were aspiring YouTube stars themselves. However, making your voice stand out on YouTube requires a camera, a few books to use as a tripod… and a lot of perseverance.

The impact for brands
This is a relatively new method of communication and, more importantly, a new kind of celebrity. These influencers are artists, media activists, atypical spokespeople, and commentators all at once. Compared with traditional celebrities, they enjoy a closer relationship with their fans. The video clip serves as a starting point for a conversation that continues in the video’s comments section. As a result, their growing audience appreciates the YouTuber’s honesty and transparency. If a brand wants to benefit from this sympathy, it is essential they thoroughly understand the emotional aspect of this relationship. Fortunately, for those who were not able to attend the first ever OhMyFest!, organizers have confirmed that a second edition will take place next year.

In the meantime, the impact that YouTubers have on brands will continue to draw attention and prompt discussions about the nature of authenticity, proximity, product placement, and especially, the impact of this phenomenon on our other modes of communication. Havas will certainly be in attendance next year!