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BizReport : Ecommerce : December 18, 2017


Vicarious viewing pushes up popularity of unboxing videos

Lewis Hilsenteger earns a lot of money spending a lot of time opening boxes for his 10 million-strong YouTube subscriber base. Six-year-old Ryan has earned $11 million this year opening toys. Such unboxing videos are a huge category in online video and some products are now being designed with unboxing in mind.

by Helen Leggatt

Lewis Hilsenteger runs Unbox Therapy - YouTube's most subscribed and viewed unboxing/review channel. His regular video uploads take viewers through the process of opening product boxes and inspecting the contents. Unlike many other unboxers, Lewis faces the camera while the most common format is a first-person approach that gives that extra element of reality to vicarious viewers.

Lewis' channel features toys for big boys (and girls), but the latest unboxing trend is targeted at children or, as an article in The Guardian discussing the latest LOL Surprise! Dolls craze cynically puts it, "exploitation" of "children's natural acquisitiveness, vulnerability to manipulative marketing tactics, untrammeled willingness to pester parents to indulge the whims of their moment and of parents' inability to withstand much of it, especially at Christmas."

LOL! Surprise dolls are an environmental nightmare of packaging. The dolls themselves are three-inch figures that require fighting through seven layers of packaging to reach them. Each layer reveals a surprise such as a sticker, an outfit for the doll, a secret message and other items and there are 45 different dolls to collect. The packaging is not transparent so the purchaser has no idea which doll is inside which leads on to the trading element of the dolls when duplicates are collected and rare dolls desired.

There is little doubt the overall experience of LOL! Surprise Dolls was conceived with unboxing in mind and the toy has spawned a plethora of such videos, some as long as 30 minutes or more. In fact, the creator of LOL! Surprise Dolls, CEO of California-based toymaker MGA Entertainment Isaac Larian, revealed it was after watching unboxing videos on YouTube that he came up with a new toy specifically designed to be videoed while unboxing.

"I said, 'Well, we gotta do a toy that's a true unboxing, so every kid can unbox it," Larian told CBS News. "Nobody has done a toy where you don't see what's inside."

The six-year-old host of Ryan ToysReview recently made the top 10 of Forbes' annual list of the highest-earning YouTube celebrities. His daily unboxing of toys has attracted more than 10 million viewers and earned him an estimated $11million this year. https://www.businessinsider.com.au/highest-paid-youtube-stars-2017-12?r=US&IR=T

For marketers, unboxing videos are another tool in their social media toolbox. It highlights the need for excellence from manufacture to packaging. Innovative and quality packaging extends brand messaging from the store to the home, it foreshadows the anticipation of the product reveal, and it gives people a reason to record and share the experience Poorly produced and presented packaging serves only to reflect on expectations of the purchase inside and the brand as a whole, as well as garnering poor reviews.

How can you get in on the unboxing action? If you are lucky you may already be featured in an unboxing video - search YouTube. If so, strategically share that video making sure to credit and link to the creator. Otherwise, you will probably need to pay a click-per-view price to have your product featured on the most popular channels.

Tags: ecommerce, packaging, social, unboxing, video, YouTube










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