Haul vloggers: the next target for fashion brands?

Is it me or is anyone else obsessed with haul videos? What’s a haul video? It’s a vlogging phenomenon whereby (mostly) teenagers shop at the mall then go home and video themselves talking through what they bought. And, er…that’s it. But this simple concept is taking America by storm. Like blogging, there’s a vicarious quality to it. By sharing a blogger’s excitement about what they bought, you almost don’t need to shop yourself. (I said almost.) And there’s just something very compelling about some of these videos. Even the actually quite boring ones.

The appeal for many haul bloggers – surprise surprise – is the money-making and fame-bringing potential that the exposure allows. Some ‘haulers’ have huge followings and share profits with Youtube from ad revenue generated on their videos. For brands who often send products for review it can be good publicity – although some stipulate good reviews only. Of course.

In the main, these videos give glowing reviews which is clearly great for the brands but not so useful for the viewer. But that’s where the two-way communiction aspect of blogging/vlogging comes in. The comments on this video provide quite useful feedback about the items shown, rather than the standard ‘oh, cute top’ comments of many other blogs. This can have real benefit for brands, giving them both publicity and constructive feedback.

An interesting development is that of beauty brands using haul-style consumer videos on their own sites. L’Oreal Paris has its Beauty Confidential club which shows videos of members reviewing samples via webcam. According to an article in the FT, these reviews aren’t 100% positive (although all the ones I watched seemed to be) as consumers apparently don’t trust perfect-10 reviews. Another sign of beauty brands cosying up to vloggers is the news that Maybelline is launching a new, lower-priced make-up line in Europe. MNY will retail at under 4 euros and its marketing will include virals and reaching out to haul vloggers according to Makeup.com.

So far, I’m not aware of any fashion brands utilising the haul vlogging concept on their own sites but I would think that was a logical progression of today’s blogging and online review culture. I would certainly be tempted to have a look out of sheer nosiness as well as genuinely wanting to know how a product performs.

What do you think of haul videos?

UPDATED July 14th: So there are brands working directly with vloggers