• Beau Steward

Pushing Brands They Don't Believe In

Many years ago I listened to the radio more than I do now, as it was the best way to get more variety of content due to lack of streaming content and the infrastructure to handle it. This was back when The Russ Martin Show was still good, and it was one of my favorite radio shows to listen to. Russ said something, though, that mattered to me: he won't push a brand he doesn't believe in. He understood that his fans will trust him on his recommendations and if he pushed a bad brand, that would violate that trust, and he would face the problems with that. Additionally, he worked with the brands that he pushed, and if someone did have a problem, he pushed the brand to make it right.


I've given money to many of his brands. I'm a customer, to this day, of the auto leasing company that he's advertised for well over a decade.


Fast-forward to today where much of my media is consumed via online streaming. YouTube is probably the number one platform I use that has a lot of content creators with advertising to help with their revenue. YouTube doesn't support their content creators well so many of them have their own brand deals. However, I have yet to find a content creator that seriously considers the brands they're pushing. Some have shown disdain for certain brands and refused to push them, but it's clear that probably most of these creators only care about the paycheck from the brands and don't care about how their viewers feel about them.


How do I know this? I've personally bought from 2 common brands pushed by many content creators, and used an app that is also frequently pushed.


Raycons markets themselves as high-end audio products without the high-end price tag. However, the products they want you to believe they are punching up to are actually substantially better. Equivalently priced products are better in many ways. You can even get better products for cheaper. Raycons are branded cheap garbage with no actual expert audio tuning, and they sound like garbage if you listen to styles of music other than a specific style. Not only are they heavily bass tuned, they're poorly bass tuned.


dbrand is a maker of vinyl phone skins and cases. Their marketing mentions things like materials and quality. However, their materials aren't special. Anyone can develop vinyl phone wraps using 3M's materials, and there are companies that do, with a huge amount more variety. I actually bought from a dbrand competitor long before I knew dbrand existed. dbrand is also very expensive, and very opaque in the purchase and shipping process. My order sat in a pending state for weeks and I couldn't get the info I wanted on why. I gave up and cancelled my order. In a fast moving online world, I shouldn't be able to cancel my order weeks later. I've only been able to do that with less reputable companies.


Raid: Shadow Legends is a mobile game. It's a style of game referred to as a gacha, or gachapon game, which is a game centered around lootboxes. It's, technically, free to play, but you will hit a hard wall pretty quickly if you don't pay. I did play this for a short period, up until I hit that wall, at which point I deleted the game. Gacha games prey on the gambling addiction tendency in people and there are, currently, pending litigation around lootboxes in other styles of games. The thing is, those other games are centered around a specific concept, but lootboxes are in addition. Gacha games are built purely around the lootbox mechanic. To get the most out of gacha games, you must be participating in the gacha component, and that comes at a cost. The funny thing is I never found the place to put in a creator's referral code, yet I still got the bonus items.


These are brands hocked by numerous content creators. They all have required talking points so if you hear an ad spot from 5 different creators for the same brand, they will sound almost exactly the same. None of them have genuine interest in what they're pushing. Not a single one. None of them believe in their brands, and none of them care if you have a problem with them. But that 5 figure paycheck is certainly motivation to at least pretend to be excited.


My advice to fans of online content creators is to take their recommendations with a grain of salt. Look for unpaid reviews. Look at what people are saying that don't have those brand deals. Don't let a discount code sway your decision because there's still a monetary transaction being performed, and you could be out whatever money you put into it, and it encourages those brands to maintain those brand deal relationships. These creators don't actually believe in these brands, but they certainly do believe in that revenue.


I'd like to think if we could make these brand deals fail that maybe these creators would consider focusing on brands they actually believe in.

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©2020 by Beau Steward.