Crypto Punk'd

How the FTX fallout impacts creators

Good morning. Michelle Khare just released a video nearly a year in the making in which she trains with the Secret Service. I never really thought the Secret Service was “bad ass,” but what with the high-octane water, defense, and shooting drills—yeah, it’s bad ass.

Creators Distance Themselves from FTX

Graham Stephan / YouTube

Graham Stephan, Tom Nash, Meet Kevin, and a handful of other finance creators got got…

Last week, Nash and Stephan took to YouTube to apologize to their followers for promoting the crypto company FTX, which, and we won’t sugar-coat it, recently imploded.

The TLDR on FTX: It was the world’s second largest crypto exchange, headed up by 30-year-old Sam Bankman-Fried (aka SBF). The platform invested millions in partnerships with creators and sports teams, including a 19-year, $135 million sponsorship with the Miami Heat.

But Bankman-Fried lost it all fast. Last week, Coindesk reporting revealed that FTX was tied up a little too closely to SBF’s other businesses through its native FTT token. To put a long (and dramatic) story short, investors began pulling their funds from FTX, a potential bailout from fellow crypto exchange Binance fell apart, FTX was left scrambling to cover its costs, and customers were effectively hung out to dry.

Amid the fallout, creators who had partnered with FTX—and promoted the platform to their followers—found themselves in a bind.

  • “As much as I trusted the information that I was given, I was wrong and I’m sorry,” Stephan said in a recent two-minute video.

  • “I do my best to research and vet everything that comes my way, and this one I did not see coming.”

Critical fans haven’t minced words: One comment with over 3,000 likes on Stephan’s video reads, “Graham Stephan heavily promoted FTX. He was a paid sponsor up until the very end. Being easily fooled might be a fine defense, but it’s also an argument to avoid taking his advice.”

Nash offered more details on his FTX tie-in: “These guys paid me $50,000 per month,” Nash said. “The idea was that they pay me all this money to promote a company that’s sponsored by BlackRock and Sequoia. Tom Brady’s promoting them—that’s a creator’s dream.”

Our Take

It can be difficult for creators to turn down deep-pocketed brands. But if this last week is any indication, a little more due diligence is in order.

Perhaps FTX could be a wakeup call: The creator advertising industry is still in its early stages, meaning more stories like this are possible. But for creators, the best strategy is one centered on transparency—because sometimes we all get got.

A Social-Powered Political Campaign Resonates With Voters

Kenneth Meja / LA Times

Last week, 32-year-old Kenneth Mejia became LA’s first Filipino elected official when he won the race for City Controller—and he did it with a non-traditional social campaign.

His strategy: Mejia illustrated spending discrepancies in LA’s city budget on TikTok, showing how much money was going to policing vs. housing or youth development.

If that was the medicine, the spoonful of sugar was Mejia’s use of popular TikTok video formats—green screening Tweets, poking fun at campaign text outreach, etc.

“The literature on mailers isn't very convincing or personal. So [on TikTok] there’s me with my corgi or a Pikachu, while at the same time communicating something of value or educational.”

Mejia’s 10k followers on TikTok, 17k on Instagram, and 31k on Twitter helped him win by a healthy margin.

Our Take

Now more than ever, elections are won and lost on social. Viral campaigns are now more effective than TV commercials, which wasn’t the case just five years ago.

We expect more leaders to express social savvy in the coming elections—which is a good thing: better social campaigns = more knowledgeable audience (and electorate).

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YouTube Wants To Be Your Holiday Shopping Destination

Simply Naological / YouTube

YouTube is pushing shoppable videos and Shorts this week as it taps creators like itsDesTV and Simply Nailogical to promote their products ahead of the holiday shopping busy season.

It’s the second year the platform has hosted a holiday shopping event with features like in-video tags and links.

Our Take

Though live shopping hasn’t exactly been a runaway success on YouTube, its continued presence is something we can see gaining popularity over time—similar to the Cyber Monday effect following the immense growth of Black Friday. Which reminds us—keep an eye out for our holiday drop coming soon.

From the Studio

Colin and Samir

ICYMI—Colin and Samir released their first documentary. It shows a side of MrBeast we don’t get to see often, pulling off the massive feat of managing staff, fans, and all the craziness that comes with breaking a world record and opening a restaurant at the same time. Watch it here.

👀 Creator Moves

  • Mentour Pilot is looking for a YouTube strategist and motion graphics developer with flight simulator experience. Apply to both here.

  • Mark Gagnon is hiring for an experienced videographer and editor. Preferably in NYC or willing to relocate.

  • Mrwhosetheboss is looking for a creative writer to work on a weekly newsletter.

🔥 Press Worthy

  • Markiplier releases a documentary Markiplier from North Korea.

  • Yes Theory adds another date in Toronto for their Project Iceman premiere.

  • Feastables is hosting a $10,000 competition to design the package for their next chocolate bar.

  • Hook Point is giving away a free guide to going viral.*

  • Jaiden Animations is hosting a subathon starting Thursday.

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