The Cool Kids: YouTubers vs. A-Listers

Need a celebrity spokesperson for your next campaign? Before calling up Hollywood, consider heading to your very own laptop. A survey conducted by the entertainment publication Variety last month found some interesting conclusions on who the most popular stars are these days. Variety asked respondents to consider the influence of a slew of personalities ranging from YouTubers to musicians, Oscar winners to action heroes. According to the survey’s 1,500 participants, aged 13 to 18, the most influential celebs aren’t the traditional red carpet regulars: the teens’ top 5 “stars” all found their fame on portable screens as opposed to the silver variety.

Conducted by celebrity brand strategist Jeetendr Sehdev, the survey consisted of questions investigating how 20 well-known figures ranked in terms of “approachability, authenticity, and other criteria considered aspects of their overall influence” (Source: Variety). The pool was chosen from a combination of factors: 10 YouTubers were selected based on video views and subscriber counts, while the 10 more conventional A-listers required high indexing Q scores for the target panel’s age group. Variety then used the survey responses to score each celeb on a 100 point scale, formulating the results which appear in the graphic below.

The verdict? YouTube reigns! Andrew Hecox and Anthony Padilla of Smosh took the number one spot, while the deceased Paul Walker was the highest ranked “traditional” celebrity coming in at 6th. Perhaps surprisingly, the top 5 spots were all occupied by YouTubers.

Tubefilter commented on how the surveyed teenagers “enjoy the intimate experience with their favorite YouTubers” which is a relationship unique to the social media site. Personalities such as Johnny Depp and Leo DiCaprio don’t have the same level of connectivity with their audiences as YouTubers do, which probably contributes to the favor bestowed upon “new age” celebrities like The Fine Bros. and PewDiePie.

If Variety’s survey accurately depicts the state of celebrity as interpreted by today’s teenagers, YouTube is a player who’s here to stay in terms of the fame game. Channel management services can take a YouTube presence to star status, and influencer outreach campaigns can rival celebrity spokespeople in advertising value. The interactivity and accessibility promoted by the YouTube platform translates to more favorable views in the eyes of its ever-growing audience. The results are in: old school Hollywood needs to rethink its definition of “celebrity” to make way for the future of media.

by Maggie Altergott

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