Posted on March 6, 2015
Why Apple invited a YouTuber to their March 9th Event
Apple has invited a YouTuber to a Special Event for the first time. His name? Marques Brownlee, he has millions of subscribers and focuses his channel on reviewing technology. But why has Apple invited a YouTuber? And why have they only invited one?
I want you to remember a key word here, and that word is “Influence”. This word is exactly what Apple PR are looking for when deciding who to invite to their press events. Influence does not correlate with page hits, but rather how much you change people’s opinions.
Put it this way; MacRumors is a news site, an incredibly objective one. They have literally no influence even with a large readership number as their articles offer little subjective opinions, and they never publish editorials.
Compare it to another Apple site like Macworld or iMore, both are largely subjective. These sites sway the reader opinion one way or another which is why they get invited to events every single time. MacRumors gets undoubtedly way more hits than both of these sites, but Apple clearly doesn’t care about that as they’ve never been invited to an Apple Event.
Influence is so important to Apple that some publications can get away with incredibly negative coverage of Apple, for example the New York Times & BBC have both exposed Apple’s bad supply chain conditions. Both publications are too important to lose for Apple so they will get invited to Apple events no matter what, the same treatment wouldn’t apply though to a mildly influential tech site like The Verge though due to their readership demographic.
Any publication that will have top search results for reviews of Apple products is probably also too valuable to lose as they will massively affect sales. If a consumer is going to buy a phone, chances are that many will watch or read a review before making their mind up. And even if they don’t then the criticisms in reviews will spread fast through the public. If they don’t hear something about a product themselves, they will hear it through somebody else who has looked at a review.
There is a new form of reviews though, and that’s YouTube. I’m going to assume Apple doesn’t invite several YouTube reviewers to events unlike their competitors because they are unprofessional and not influential. They make videos in their bedroom and their reviews often contain far less words than a publication, in other words the public is far less likely to take a YouTube review more seriously than one of a major publication due to the nature of them.
Marques Brownlee fits this description perfectly, I saw him at the HTC event the other day and he was wearing incredibly casual clothing compared to the rest of the audience. But there’s one thing that’s very strange about him, this doesn’t stop him from being the most influential reviewer on the planet.
Every single recent Apple product he has reviewed is pretty much the top result or most viewed video on YouTube, he wasn’t even at the September Apple Event but his impressions of the Apple Watch video without hands on is the most viewed video of the Apple Watch on YouTube, beating Apple’s own official video and the videos of any publication.
He is also the top result for Beats by Dre, which is now an Apple company. The whole video is dedicated to bashing their product. He also bases his iOS reviews from the perspective of an Android user which means he will be less favourable. Although views don’t matter much to Apple, they certainly do if they’re influential, and especially if they’re influencing people against Apple which is exactly what Marques is doing.
But what makes Marques stand out? Why aren’t other Vloggers influential? Firstly, Marques makes his reviews sound like the truth, he has the right voice and the right speaking style to make people agree with him. His points are concise and clear, and he doesn’t whine on about things. He is an incredibly likeable personality.
Secondly, He also doesn’t (appear to) sell himself out. Marques claims he’s never been paid to do any reviews by a company and he doesn’t accept complimentary review units. As far as I am aware, Marques is the only tech reviewer that has never accepted a paid sponsorship in a video either. These characteristics are very attractive to any audience. It makes you look like you take your work seriously, even when you make videos in your bedroom. You definitely feel like you can trust his opinion.
I’m not just making up what people think of him, watch any review video by The Verge and all you will see is “I will wait for Marques Brownlee’s review”. In fact, Marques has such an incredible brand image that although he said exactly the same thing as The Verge in his Nexus 9 review, their review to got a bag of dislikes and Marques’s review gets very little hate. Here’s a comparison of both their reviews that I mocked up:
This is why Marques Brownlee is getting invited, and the only YouTuber to get invited. Many other tech reviewers will have a higher reach than other publications getting invited, but Marques is the only influential one. They really need to get on his good side and he is probably already feeling the urge to cover them favourably by making him feel special as the first YouTuber ever to be invited to an Apple Event. After all, he did seem pretty startled about getting an invite on Twitter.
Apple probably should’ve started inviting him a year ago, but I think his influence has only just occurred to them. He’s probably been asking a long time for them, but something has twigged at Apple. They have realised that he is not just another Vlogger, he is the most influential person when it comes to tech opinions, and I would place bets on him being invited to every future Apple event, even the ones at Apple HQ with barely any seats.