AT&T's iJustine Web Series Doesn't Exactly Go Viral
YouTube Stars as Spokesmodels May not Be Such a Great Idea After All
What do you do if you're a big mobile carrier hoping to connect with digital youth? Tap a YouTube "star" and a popular blogger to extol the virtues of AT&T mobile phones.
That was the idea behind AT&T's "Lost in America" campaign with iJustine (Justine Ezarik) and blogger Karen Nguyen. But the result is an example of how YouTube fame tends not to translate outside the world of "Fred," "kevjumba" and "sxephil."
The premise of the series is that the two get lost together in various locales such as Austin and Anchorage, and have to solve various mysteries of their surroundings using AT&T phones ("It is a slick phone; it's so tiny!").
So far, AT&T and its vloggers have published 11 episodes, produced by Tremor Media, but it's hard to imagine anyone watching more than one, if that. The series is heavy on AT&T, but light on storyline, unless you find it interesting that Justine could be booted out of the competition if she drops her phone a fifth time.
After two weeks, the series had generated just 31,000 views across YouTube, MySpace and four other sites, according to web video distribution firm Tubemogul. The only reason they racked up that many is that iJustine posted episodes one and six on her blog, bringing in 20,000 of that total.
Compare that to the videos starring or mentioning iJustine on YouTube, which have been seen 16 million times. iJustine did more for AT&T in this video, not a part of the series, about getting lost in the jungle, which has been viewed 117,000 times: "No swimming, no paved roads, but I have my iPhone, but there's no service."