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BBC3: Rise of the Superstar Vloggers

As host Jim Chapman points out, this all feels a bit ‘Inception’… a BBC-commissioned documentary, hosted by a vlogger, offering ‘behind-the-scenes’ insights into the lives of individuals for whom there pretty much is no behind-the-scenes; superstar vloggers. In traversing personalities, politics and psychologies, though, this becomes a fascinating watch.

Besides, it’s not like I’d ever seen or heard of any of these ‘superstars’ before the BBC deemed them worthy of an hour’s round-up. So it’s all new to me.

The sheer scale of the vlogging trend is, in itself, mind-boggling. Even the vloggers themselves are overwhelmed by the 10s of millions of views their inane ramblings receive. An interview filmed around Brighton is interrupted frequently by fans, two of whom travelled to Brighton from East Asia and Australia specifically to follow in our hero’s footsteps. Comparisons are drawn to The Beatles and The Spice Girls – but they were very much main-stream, supported, eventually, by big media.

Jim and his cohorts may be superstars in the YouTube sub-culture, but it doesn’t necessarily translate to the quite separate challenge they see as the ‘real world’. Jim’s celeb enough in Hollywood eyes to interview Matt Damon, but is clearly uncomfortable in that style of limelight. This is definitely a different breed of celebrity.

Most incredible for me – and I supposed this is a trend echoed through decades of celebrity – is the sheer motivation to vlog for vlogging’s sake. One interviewee, a gay vlogger who vlogs about his sexuality, is visibly stumped when asked to consider what keeps him at it. It’s all wonderfully un-calculated.

Alas, though, all this intrigue and fascinatinon is meaningless, really. As a marketer, I know my place:

We say “Let them get famous, then pay them to sell our stuff. Social trend: monetised!”

What could go wrong?

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