With more than 100 brands converging on the 21,000-attendee strong 2015 VidCon, YouTube invited a dozen of its top creative partners to spend 10 minutes Friday morning with 12 different brands, including Proactiv, Beats by Dre, Purina, the Department of Transportation, L'Oréal and Truth.
So, did sparks fly?
"I think there were a few love connections," Mota told Adweek. "It was fun. The conversation is slightly different [than a real date]. They didn't ask me what my favorite food was."
Mota, with more than 9 million subscribers, opened up about her "date" with Proactiv's Sarah Elison. Mota talked about being a shy 13-year-old vlogger who was the target of cyber bullies. "I wanted my channel to be a product of overcoming fear," she confessed.
Rick Spiekermann, director of content and partnerships for Purina, said LaurDIY might have what it takes to represent the Nestlé brand. "Her ability to articulate what matters to her audience was really impressive," he said. Purina has been working with YouTube creators for three years, but it's the company's first time at California's VidCon: "This content works. It accomplishes our brand objectives."
"This is a very valuable process for us," said Carlos Alcazar, svp of the Tombras Group, working on behalf of the Department of Transportation. "It gives us the opportunity in a more intimate environment to tell the creators what we do. And you can see their eyes light up when we touch on a campaign they may be interested in."
"They're very socially conscious," added David Jacobs, who is also working with the Transportation Department's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration safe driving campaigns. "They get excited about doing something that's going to save lives." The highway administration partnered with Smosh for a don't-text-and-drive campaign earlier this year. (You can see the video below.)
"The intent isn't to get a deal signed tomorrow," said YouTube director of content commercialization Jamie Byrne. "But it's meant to drive a follow-up conversation later."
Purina's Spiekermann said he'll be following up with several of the YouTubers. "We've started working with some of these creators where we give them some compensation in the development phase," he said.