Why YouTube Is Advertising On TV

In case you missed it, YouTube has been running TV ads lately. Yes, you heard that right. YouTube, the mega user-generated video site, is currently airing :30 ads on mass media TV.

I first saw the commercials weeks ago when they popped up during the season premier of Mad Men. By the time I saw the third, very similar spot, it was clear this was part of a bigger campaign. Take a look at the three TV commercials.

Digital giant Google, YouTube parent company, is using the once pooh-poohed medium to promote several of YouTube’s most popular channel creators from fashion, beauty and food. The campaign includes :30 TV spots, billboards, transit and print media – Allure, Seventeen and Entertainment Weekly. The idea is to raise awareness for its programming and ultimately increase ad revenue with potential advertisers.

It is interesting that they chose to feature three young women all who have fashion, make-up or baking channels. I would have thought they would have featured more of a variety of different channels. Why these women? Two have over six million subscribers and the other has nearly two million. That’s a lot of fans.

To learn more about who YouTube thinks their audience is, I strolled through their site it looks like they think they reach women 25-49 and men 18-34. Women must be the primary audience they are targeting, since this push is aimed at girly girls.

Part of a larger mass media campaign, these billboards promote YouTube channels for Bethany Mota, Michelle Phan and Rosanna Pansino.

Part of a larger mass media campaign, these billboards promote YouTube channels for Bethany Mota, Michelle Phan and Rosanna Pansino.

YouTube has a family history of using mass media to promote its services. Legend has it that Google CEO Eric Schmidt publicly criticized brand advertising as “the last bastion of unaccountable spending in corporate America” just four years before he shelled out somewhere between $2.5 and $2.8 million to run a TV commercial in the 2010 Super Bowl.

That day he tweeted “we liked this video so much, and it’s had such a positive reaction on YouTube, that we decided to share it with a wider audience,” acknowledging that TV has a wider audience than YouTube.

To be fair, the ad campaign was awesome. If you haven’t seen it yet, you need to take just under one minute to watch.

Parisian Love YouTube and mass TV commercial from 2010 Super Bowl.

So, back to my point. If TV and other traditional media don’t work then why do big brands, even big digital brands, invest in it? Because, it works! How can this help you? In an age when we’re quick to leap to using digital, remember that traditional media works – it’s still one of the best ways to reach a broad audience.