LadBaby’s Mark Hoyle, Jungle Creations’ Melissa Chapman, Gleam’s Lucy Loveridge and Free Focus co-founder James Hancock discussed celebrity media at VidCon 2019 – in a panel chaired by Bree Bower from Bower Power Media.
The discussion opened with a chat about what the words celebrity and influencer, and which is the right term to describe online content creators. Lucy responded by saying that she feels “very strongly that influencer is not the correct word”, adding that she feels “like the word entertainer works better than influencer”.
Mark said that he wouldn’t class him and his wife as influencers, and added: “I quite like the term creators. I feel like we create uplifting content.”
The conversation later turned to influencer fraud, with Mark saying that “it’s given us all a bad name, ’cause I don’t think there’s many of us that are doing these bad things.” He went on to add that it affects everybody, and with regards to his content, they make sponsored material very clear “in the first 30 seconds”.
Adding to this, James talked about creators making branded content, but in a creative way. “It’s not necessarily ‘buy this toothpaste’, or whatever it is,” he said, instead saying that “it’s incorporating it into the content.”
Mark agreed and said that it’s a collaboration. “We work hard to make sure that everything is natural, and it’s natural for that reason, because we don’t take something that isn’t,” he said. “It’s working with our brand values but also theirs to create the best outcome.”
Meanwhile, Lucy said: “The thing that’s bothered me the most is that you can buy followers for other people. There’s a fear amongst our roster – a paranoia, perhaps – like, ‘what if someone else buys me followers? How can I prove that wasn’t me?’
Conversation later moved on to creators’ place in the wider entertainment industry, when LadBaby’s single We Built This City… on Sausage Rolls was mentioned. “The Christmas Number One campaign really shook everything up,” said James, Mark’s manager. He added that their “friends in the music industry were quite pissed off” because they had knocked Ariana Grande off the top spot.
Mark added that “it shows that we have the backing and the power more so than the biggest stars.”
Elsewhere, the panel discussed the relation between TV and online media. Melissa said: “When you see the world we operate in now, that it’s not who you know that can get you through the doors, it’s actually what do I know, am I funny, do I have a really great story to tell, am I entertaining?”
Rounding up the discussion, Bree asked the panel for one prediction for how the talent industry is going to progress. Lucy said she thinks “we will need more and more talent”, while Melissa believes there’ll be “more beautiful formats with the talent involved”. James talked more about audience changes going forward, and Mark talked about Facebook, saying they’re “going to be doing some really cool things this year”.
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