This blog is a follow up to my minimalist last blog about Obscurity.
This blog is about losing one's obscurity. It's about marketing in a case-study of magibon.
As many of you know, I don't have a TV. I do, however, explore YouTube now and then. I remember when the invention of the macintosh suddenly made everyone a desktop publisher and the technology now has suddenly made everyone a video producer and while I find it sort of intersting to see what various people are doing, I find it more intresting to monitor what the audience watches.
Now, no one is going to give me a nobel prize for acknoledging that young+attractive+female = audience.
In the early days of youtube the dancing girl videos were hands down the biggest attention grabers (that plus the pirated TV shows which was what brought me and most people probably to YouTube to begin with to see "that thing" that happened which someone uploaded already. Clever of them, eh?)
But, overtime - people want something more.
Brookers was a huge YouTube phenomenon early on primarily because most people always wondered what the kind of cute girl in high school was doing when she was at home and Brookers presented this very open yet odd view of it. She was at her best when just being a herself. Overtime, she never reinvented herself though (as I spoke about in earlier blogs) and the audience pretty much knew what she was doing at home and they look for something new. I'm sure she still gets lots of hits - people like what they know, but this doesn't mean they crave it and marketing is about making people crave.
There are many YouTube stars and the one I'm going to talk about right now is a girl who I spotted randomly on the "other people are watching scroll" a very long time ago and her video made me so curious I sent it to a few friends.
So... let's bulletpoint: What is magibon?
magibon is the name for YouTuber MRirian who posts reguarily and gets over a half a million or more views now routinely per video. Soon she will certain be getting multimilion views per video.
What does she do? That's where it gets interesting... because she doesn't really do anything. Often she just stares at the camera. However, when she does speak, she speaks in a child-like voice in japanese. Sometimes she plays video games. Sometimes she alternates reading with eating HUGE pizzas. She usually ends her videos flashing the peace sign pose.
Well, here, take a look for yourself:
What do people say about her?
Well, in addition to the not surprisng sexual comments that are par for the course with youtube - some people get really upset with her because - something I've not mentioned... she isn't Japanese. She's apparently caucasian. Her account is registered to Japan, but she says she's in the US. Some people say she's making fun of Japanese culture, some people say she is a Japanophile for which apparently there is a slightly derogative word "Waponese."
What is the truth?
Well - as far as I can tell - no one knows. And if you've read many of my blogs, you'll know that I think that this kind of mystery is the key to drama and, therefore, this is a perfect example of drama with no plot. It's a dramatic moment because it captures the audience's curiousity. And that's why I bring it up at all.
Okay, but what really is the truth?
I did a little google and found that a long time ago MRirian used to frequent a BBS which focused mostly on all-things-japanese. This would mean, that she is probably a fan of the language or culture, so she's not making fun of anyone most likely. Her name on those forums is no longer the same, but you can figure out pretty easily who she is because while the main posts are a new name, the quoted posts are still MRirian.
MRirian signs up for YouTube 2 years ago.
One year ago she posts her first video titled "Me doing nothing." and in it, she does nothing.
In her second video she just makes faces.
In her third, she shows a card with some abstract names and she is just saying hello to people on a bulletin board.
Fourth video - she's doing nothing.
Fifth video she decides to actually make a "story" where she is watching a Kikoman ad,then she tries some, doesn't like it, and then lets Heinz Ketchup conquer the kikoman character.
Okay - I'm not going to run through all 44 videos - but I will make some observations.
1) She looks older in her earlier videos than her later ones where she looks increasingly young.
2) The first videos she's very definitely just showing herself. Probably to a friend on a BBS. Then, they don't believe her, so she shows a sign to prove that it is really her in her third.
3) Remember that young+female+attractive = audience. Suddenly, people start watching her videos. She probably is surprised. But something that happens when people start watching your videos is that you become a YouTube partner and you start making money off the videos.
Going forward, her videos start to become more and more "cutesie" - she looks more and more like a little girl (despite her profile saying she is 21.
What do I think? I think whether she's 21 or 16 (or 24 as some claim) - I think she stumbled upon an audience and realized that she doesn't need to do anything except....
...here we go...
As her hits have skyrocketed, she's put up more and more videos, more regularly. In them, she plays up more and more of the "cute anime" character of magidon. One commenter said "It's like kittens and puppies but with humans."
I don't think it was her original intention, I think she got a response and started seeing where she could go with it. A big give away video is where she is eating an ENORMOUS slice of pizza inter cut with her reading excerpts from a Japanese grammar book. The comedy is in the size of the pizza which she is most definitely playing up to dwarf her own size for effect.
As an example of what I'm getting at where she discovered the interest of her audience - compare her first video of doing nothing with a much much later one:
A Year Later:
Video: http://youtube.com/watch?v=RVjZVxhrlVk Notice the choice of clothing, setting, and hair style in particular.
More clues can be found in the videos which she chose to favorite on her channel. One is a fan video someone made of her looking like an anime character and another is a humorous video that a 40+ aged man created where he, in a dramatic form, postulates on why her videos might have appeal (beyond the obvious pedophilic pornographic postulations which I think is a little too simple and common an answer.)
So - perhaps Maggie is a 19 year old part time student, part time cashier at the local store or perhaps she's really 14, or perhaps she's a 23 year old post collegiate looking for a purpose in life - whatever the answer is... the truth is that she's stumbled upon the secret to marketing and drama... sustaining the mystery.
However... when that mystery is unfolded... she will need to have presented another mystery if she wants to sustain her audience. right now she has over a million hits a video. She has an audience that major players in the industry would dream of - but it will all go away unless she twists the mystery at some point... time will tell that story.
Why do people hate her?
Outside of the lude comments - she gets a lot of angry YouTuber comments because she gets so many hits. People sit back and wax philosophic on their vlogs about her and why she gets so many hits and they get none. The irony is that these people just need to observe reality to have the answer to their question. Why do they not get the same number of hits? They're just sitting there talking and putting it all on the table.
Sometimes the thing that you need to offer people is something unrecognizable.
Invariably people will say - "All you have to be is young and cute to get viewers."
9 million views for that upload alone. 'nuff said.
There are so many examples of break out videos which had nothing to do with the young+attractive+female formula - but all of them had to do with creating something unrecognizable.
So, instead of hating her for figuring out how to create a mystery - these people might want to figure out what they can really offer.
The thing that separates a great actor from a standard actor is the ability to open up themselves and share a bit of their humanity with the audience. The audience feels that connection. it's not easy to do and the doing of it comes with no safety net. But when someone gets in sync with something true about themselves, magic happens whether you're young, cute, and female or not.
Whether someone is an actor, a musician, a director, a personality, or whatever - the first question one should ask themselves when they can't get an audience is "What am I hiding?"
A contradiction... didn't I just make a huge point about that mystery was key and now I'm saying you can't hide anything?
Reveal your humanity - but hide your story.
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