Say it isn't so! YouTube stars Renetto, Geriatric1927, and LisaNova just got busted for selling coke? What's that? Oh, you mean Coke? As in the fizzy Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO ) beverage? Oh, that's better.
Adweek is reporting that the beverage giant brokered deals with six of YouTube's most popular video bloggers to create holiday-greeting videos that are now part of Coke's "Holiday Wishcast" promotion.
Whether it's the elderly Geriatric1927 reading a friend's Christmas poem or LisaNova taking part in an offbeat seasonal ditty, Coke has been able to stir up interest in its feature by populating it with established YouTube celebrities who have tens of thousands of subscribers. This has no doubt inspired other YouTube members to upload their own holiday greetings for Coke's Wishcast -- without compensation, of course.
Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG ) popular YouTube video-sharing site has been an effective promoter for brands in the past. CBS (NYSE: CBS ) was quick to praise the site by pointing to the 29.2 million streams that its CBS clips had generated in its first month as a site sponsor. However, the Coke deal is different, in that the ads are free of any actual Coke product placement. If it weren't for the Wishcast site at coca-cola.com, which ultimately streams the embedded video emails, the holiday greetings would seem pretty free of commercialization.
However, now that folks know that some of the more prolific participants on the site are getting paid, isn't it really just a matter of time before YouTube embraces the model established by Revver.com, which shares ad revenue with uploaders of original clips?
Something certainly seems to be in the works. In the Adweekarticle, YouTube's director of advertising strategy claims that the site is working on more ways to compensate video creators.
"There will be other programs that we develop to help users monetize content," Jamie Byrne says in the article. For those who have taken advantage of YouTube as a launching pad for cottage industries, let's hope that Christmas doesn't come too late.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz isn't a YouTube junkie, but he does find himself on the site more often than he would care to admit. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. He is also part of theRule Breakersnewsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.The Fool has a disclosure policy.