What's Your Vertical?

Meet some Brands of Me. Our research team has put a broad swath of YouTube Stars and social media influencers under the microscope to understand where they sit on the Creator - Influencer continuum, their “vertical”, their engagement “secret sauce”, and their brand building accomplishments. Some are high value brands and influencers rivalling Hollywood celebrities, others are just starting out. Each has a story to tell.


Casey Neistat

What could possibly make a 34-year-old New York man an appealing brand advocate for Turkish Airlines? Why would anyone care about seeing someone else’s daily life on camera? Who would even watch that? Well, it turns out that a lot of people do.

The world of influencers is new to many, and yet for many brands it’s become an extremely powerful way to reach their audience. It goes far beyond traditional advertising; influencer marketing takes earned* media to a completely new level. What’s more interesting, though, is the people who have made it so successful.

Casey Neistat, 34, is best known as a YouTube vlogger. Originally from Gales Ferry, Connecticut he dropped out of school at age 15, never to return. From age 17 until 20 Neistat lived on welfare in a trailer park while raising his son Owen. During this time he worked as a dishwasher, making $8 an hour. His net worth is now in the neighbourhood of $1.5 million. 

Neistat moved to New York in 2001 and just two years later launched his career with a short film entitled iPod’s Dirty Secret. The movie criticized Apple’s policy on iPod’s batteries, which only lasted about 18 months, and could not be replaced. It attracted a vast array of media attention, accruing over a million views within six days. This was two years before YouTube had been founded! Today Casey has well over 1.7 million subscribers to his channel.

Since his first film Casey has experienced a steady stream of viral success. From his most recent venture ALADDIN MAGIC CARPET PRANK, to the fan favourite Make it Count (filmed for Nike), he oversteps the boundaries of a traditional filmmaker. The mere presence of his name on a project exudes his signature raw, engaging style, which entices a valuable audience. It’s not just the film, itself, it’s the fact that Casey Neistat is a part of it. 

This could, perhaps, be applied as the reasoning behind why his recent venture has gained so much success. In early-2015 Neistat began a daily vlog on his YouTube channel. Each of his posts will typically garner around 1,000,000 views. Much of his audience consists of youth interested in emulating his success on the platform, and it is not unusual to see young people gathered outside his Manhattan studio for hours on end.

In essence Neistat has made a very prominent transition from filmmaker to influencer, and the significance is not lost on brands. Recently Turkish Airlines flew him and his son to Istanbul for a weekend, all expenses paid. He doesn’t shy away from talking about the potential for influence either. A recent post of his was entitled HOW TO TRAVEL THE WORLD AND GET COMPANIES TO PAY FOR IT.

Neistat’s level of transparency with his life is stark; so much has been documented for millions of viewers to see. What’s more interesting, though, is that people pay attention. His fan base has grown immensely with the introduction of his vlogs, and it’s not surprising to see his new company, a social media application called Beme performing well. Just a week after it launched the video-based platform had a whopping 1.1 million videos shared.

The future looks interesting for Casey, with echoes of a desire to relocate from New York in the near future surfacing. He is, after all, raising a second child, a daughter named Francine. It can be difficult to predict the evolution of an influencer, but things look promising for Neistat. He has an intimate understanding of his own brand, and moreover his relevance within social sphere. As he told Tech Insider just a few months ago, “in the social space, your reach and your viewership is your value.”


Fine Bros