I decided to write a post on haul videos for three reasons. For one thing they signal the confluence of various trends that interest me as a futurist, which I will dwell on in this post. Secondly, when I don’t write I work with user generated content for Bazaarvoice, so I see the enormity of consumer reviews on a daily basis. Thirdly, I have a preeteen daughter and have seen the pull these girl created instructional videos have on her and her friends. Personally I think these You Tube hits look incredibly boring and don’t quite see the allure, but in a world saturated with advertisement and questionable forms of consumer seduction, I see this as the equivalent of the trusted older cousin coming back to show her finds after a shopping spree. Very innocuous in other words.
“Millennials trust people over brands” (Bazaarvoice) It seems that the younger the generation, the greater is the chance that they will consult consumer feedback – mostly from strangers – before they buy. If you flip through this report, I have no idea why Jason Dorsey comes to the conclusion that Millennials will have the greatest spending power than any other generation in 2017. How is that possible when Boomers currently control 70% of all disposable income? How can he even predict the “spending power” in this volatile economy? I know few futurists who dare to and they have pretty good training in forecasting. I tired to look up the study that was used, but it’s not publicly available to see how they came to this conclusion. But I’m digressing. I would say precisely because Millennials are feeling the crunch they have more incentive to do some extra research to make purchasing decisions.
DIY NPR spoke to Caitlin Ellsworth, known as Glamourista16 who grew hauling into a part-time job. Watching these haulers and sensing their motivations, I don’t really get the impression that they represent the newest sceme in big companies’ viral marketing efforts. They are mostly amateurish, often hobbyists who play on humour who happen to to have an interests in something that sometimes pay off. Sort of like the mom bloggers who harvest household samples as the humble payment for their long hours. Which brings me to the next point.
Low-budget marketing Lining up with the right haulers could be a very lucrative endeavor for smaller retailers and maybe even designers who are just starting out. Who can afford hanging their garments on professional models to sprawl Parisian cat walks and what’s the pay off anyway? The haulers are much more down to earth, Millennial girls that younger Homelander girls can identify with. And they are likely to hold much more sway over this generation than Kate Moss can ever dream of. Some of them even get voted to be the next “model girl” for company so-and-so. “And it’s totally vote based, so if you, like, really dig these videos, your vote would be, like, totally awesome!”