Friday, May 18, 2012

Working with Brands as a Youtuber!

In the last year I've worked with an assortment of different companies, featuring them in my YouTube videos. Down below I will show the videos I did for those companies, and then right below that I will explain how that video alone affected their business. Keep in mind, all of these companies were start-ups without any reputation to build off to begin with. I will look into how different people were affected with four main points. My four points are...

1. Product Placement
2. Brand Exposure
3. Working with Musicians
4. Collaboration is the Key

 So let's get started!


Jet-Lev Water Jet Pack Company

One of the first "product placement" videos I did was with a company called Jet-Lev. They build water jet packs, and sell them for $100,000 US. Which, as I am sure you’re aware, is a very steep price for most people. When we approached them, they were very hesitant about doing a YouTube video on their product because they said YouTube’s audience is more of a younger generation, not parents who have money. However, what people often forget is this: since a younger generation does watch YouTube, that means they have parents, and in many cases, the child will pull their parent in to watch the video if they think it is cool, and through that, that leads to a potential $100,000 sale. So when we approached this water jetpack company we offered to make the video for them, for FREE, as long as they would let us make it the way we wanted. 

Shortly after we released the video, the CEO of Jet-Lev emailed me this response below on how their company was effected by it.

"Hi Devin,
I’d like to thank you again for your excellent work. A surprising finding was that comparing the responses from your YouTube video vs. those from the 4+ minutes FOX piece that ran on several FOX stations, your YouTube video generated much more serious responses. I think a big reason was the excellent quality of your video, but it also speaks volumes about the effectiveness of viral video to propagate among social networks vs. the quick one-time exposure in a news segment which is very quickly forgotten. I think the best combination is one or more high quality viral videos on YouTube with traffic driven by traditional media from digital news releases with video links. If one social network can generate over a million hits, I can imagine the effectiveness of several thousand social networks propagating the video at the same time. We learn something new every day."


It's not just videos that I do featuring a product or an event have influence. Even if a product is seen in a video for a couple seconds, they are making sales as well. One of my most recent YouTube videos was an example of that. The video was showing off an event, but at the same time, I have very subtle product placement.

 In the video I got a couple shots where I attached a Contour camera to a stick that holds small cameras. That stick is seen in the video for just a couple seconds(you can see the stick in the video at 20-24 seconds into it). Then in the video description on YouTube I mention the company at the very bottom. Within a couple hours of that video being released the company who makes the sticks, Go-Scope, they sent me this email below.

"First off, THANK YOU! You have put GoScope on the map in so many ways. GoScope sales more than tripled today!" 
-Go Scope

One last example with product placement, let's look at my friends local clothing company based here in Utah, Vooray. We have done several youtube videos together, some of which you can see directly below.

I contacted them shortly after the last video we did, and asked how their clothing company had been affected as well. Here is what they had to say about the impact the three videos had on their clothing company.

"It has had an extremely positive impact on our business.  The exposure we have received from being featured in a couple of Devinsupertramp YouTube videos helped grow our domestic sales by over 100%, enter international markets (we have now sold to over 20 countries) and increase brand awareness over 300%.  We attribute a huge part of our success in the past year to his work and ability to make videos a viral phenom." 

-Todd Nyman (Vooray Owner)


After we saw the success of working with a Jetpack company, and several other start ups, I decided to pick brands to work with more regularly that I thought fit my audience. One of the next brands I worked with was a company that did a 5K Mud race. They call the race "The Dirty Dash". Here is the original video I made for them.

After I made that video, with help from several of my friends, I contacted the company 5 months later and asked how the video affected their race. Here is what they said.

"It's been a fantastic marketing tool for us.  Not only do we feature it on our website to convey that feel, but we use it at race expos, women's expos, in grassroots marketing--pretty much anywhere we can get people to watch it, we do it.  We feel like it is our absolute best way to sell people on the race.  We do what we can to get them to the website, and we feel like if they watch the video, they're sold.  Plus, we did a customer survey at the end of 2011 to try to understand what had the biggest influence on people's decision to run the race.  The #1 answer for over 20% of runners was: the race video."

-The Dirty Dash

Another example of exposure can be seen with what I have done to show off tourist locations /countries. A couple of my bigger ones I have done on destinations are down below.

After I made the Kauai video, which I funded myself, without contacting anyone.... After I released it on my youtube channel I started getting contacted by businesses all over the island of Kauai with them stating how it had affected the actual state itself. The Kauai local businesses said they had people stop by their restaurants saying they went on a trip to that island just because they had discovered it existed from my youtube videos.

Even when you read the comments on youtube on the videos above, you can see several people saying that they saved up there money just to visit that island, because they had seen the video on my channel! So once again, it was through youtube that it had exposed these places, not through advertising on TV, travel brochures, or any other form of traditional advertising.

3. Working with Musicians 

Now as far as all these companies being effected through YouTube/social media, the same thing happens to the music artist that I feature in my videos. A band I often work with is called "Can't Stop Won't Stop". Here's one of our more popular videos I have featured them in. This video alone has over 10 million views which also means their music has been heard that many times as well.

I asked Dave Peterson, the lead singer of the group to email me how his music has been effected because of these videos we have done together on youtube. His response:

"The return on our collaborations has been phenomenal with our music being featured in Devinsupertramp’s YouTube videos. It took Can't Stop Won't Stop from a fledgling hip hop side project in Utah, to a career opportunity that is viable enough to warrant my moving to California to pursue it. I make a legitimate living on iTunes, which is a privilege typically reserved for label-supported musicians, and most never actually get there. Additionally, I have brought on an enormous base of loyalists. Artists struggle to ever grow their Facebook pages up above 2k Likes. I am now at 35k, the page grows steadily every day, and undergoes massive surges every time a new CSWS track is placed in one of Devin's videos."

-Dave Peterson (Can't Stop Won't Stop)

It was also the same story for my friend Lindsey Stirling, who also just happens to be my girl friend now, haha. When I met her originally she hadn't really done much with YouTube. She was on iTunes, and had only sold a couple songs. Here is what she had to say in how our collaborations have launched her career. She has since then pursued YouTube full time because of what it has done for her as a musician. Also keep in mind that she is a violinist, which makes what has happened to her career that much more amazing. Down below is the first video we ever did together. Since then I have shot every video for her youtube channel.

In the last year, with videos featuring Lindsey on my channel and her's, she has gotten over 80 million views. I asked her how youtube has effected her as a musician, her is what she had to say in an email.

"I owe all my success as a musician to YouTube. In 2010, I had the "opportunity of a lifetime" to perform live on America's Got Talent. This was the summer's most popular show, and yet after my performance, my itunes account remained stagnant. Several months later Devin featured my music on his channel and my itunes sales immediately quadrupled. One YouTube video with Devin did more for me than the 11 million viewers that saw me on National TV.
Previous to my collaboration with Devin, I had been told by the music industry experts that my style of music was unmarketable; however, after a year of doing YouTube, I have had a song in the #1 slot on the itunes electronic charts, I have labels trying to sign me, and I travel all over the world performing and doing what I love."
-Lindsey Stirling

My final example is from another musician I often work with, Stephen Anderson. He does a great deal of composing for my videos that do not feature singing/lyrics. Stephen was actually the first musician I had worked with when I started making these YouTube videos.

The video below is the first project that Stephen and I did together.

Here is a note that Stephen sent me on how his career has been affected by the videos we have done together.

"Just about every director I've ever worked with, and continue to work with, found me through YouTube. They saw a video for which I composed the music, and clicked through to my website and contacted me. Now, having finished school just one year ago, I work at home full time writing music all day, every day, and it's absolutely awesome. I actually HAD to quit my other job as a composer's assistant to be able to keep up with all the work I've been getting. Though the nature of my music (almost all underscore) is such that I barely sell any mp3's at all, I make a respectable income just working for hire, and I get contacted by new directors literally every day, which I love. Without the publicity I've gotten through Devins channels, I would still be working my old day job making next to nothing."

-Stephen Anderson

4. Collaboration is the Key

So, this brings me to the whole point of writing this blog. One of the most common questions I get asked in regards to my YouTube channel is this: "How do you afford to film all the things you do, and travel to all the places you do?"

Answer: It all comes down to one thing. I work with brands and collaborate with people with similar interests. That allows it for other people to fund my ideas, that makes it possible with a zero dollar budget :) What most people don't know is that EVERY BRAND that I have worked for so far in my career, everyone that I mentioned above, as far as videos that appear on my YouTube channel go, I have done for FREE. Even the water jetpack video, the vooray clothing, the Dirty Dash video, or any other for that matter. EVERYONE of them I have done for FREE! 

And now you’re probably asking why I would do such a thing. For me, the way I saw it, was if I could get someone else to pay for the production of my videos, the quality would be much bigger than just me trying to do it on my own. With the water jetpack company, they covered airplane tickets and hotel for my friend and I in Miami. With the Vooray clothing company, with the human slingshot, they helped organize the event, and arranged the Slingshot.

WITHOUT these collaborations there is NO WAY I would have been able to get to where I am. It's the same story with my musicians as well, they let me use their music for free, but I make sure to make it clear that they were the ones that created the music. I benefit by having awesome music, and they benefit from the iTunes sales and the exposure.

I feel in order for YouTubers, musicians, brands, companies and creatives in general to get to the next level, they MUST work together in a collaboration. As each party helps each other, they both grow exponentially.

Now, for those that are thinking to themselves, "There is no way a brand or company would want to work with me." Just as a heads up, it was the same story for me when I started. I first had to build a reputation of my own, it didn't have to be huge, but enough to prove that I had a voice. I did this in a couple different ways. I first made the Huge Bike Jump video, which you can see in the link below.

It was technically a simple video that required no money, just my friends time and talent. The video got several million hits. I made a couple of these kind of videos on my own to build my own credibility, then that's when I approached companies that I thought fit the videos I was already making. We approached the water jet pack company, and the first thing we showed them was my Bike Jump video. It was through my past work on YouTube that they became convinced of working with me.

Now just as a disclaimer against everything I have said above. Yes, I have done all these videos for companies so far for free. But now that I have proven that I can sell brands, and that I have established that I can do it consistently, I am now finally in the position that I can charge companies/brands what I want for them to get featured in one of my videos. Yes, we are still collaborating, but also, now I can make a living off of it.

As I have been saying since the start, in order to get to this point I have worked non-stop for the last year and a half doing these videos for free, to show what I could really do.

Now that I have established a voice, I can now much easier make the videos I want, with the companies/people I want, to.

So yeah, that's my secret to how I am able to fund my youtube videos, I have other people fund them :) And you start small, with no name brands, and work your way up to bigger ones.

From here, I am having companies from all around the world that want to be featured in my youtube videos, and what that does for my youtube channel, is it increases my youtube budget so I can keep making bigger and better videos! The best is yet to come, that I can promise :)


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Great article Devin - I would like to say how true your words are! When I first started getting good at making videos a lot of my friends said that I should stop doing things for free but I ignored them. I would film bands that would play in town with a friend and edit videos of their live performances. My friends kept telling me that I should stop doing things like that for free but I kept doing it.
    Soon bands were coming to me and asking me to do other side projects and saying they would pay me. Also the guy who owned the place I filmed would always send people my way to do paid projects for.

    I think that the big reason why doing work for free at first is building a network for you to surround yourself with. I now know a lot of fairly big musicians around Utah and have done videos for them. If I had said that I would only do that if I was paid I would have lost that opportunity and the experience that I have learned from working on those projects.

  3. Great job Devin. I hope your story will inspire others...

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  4. Stellar post. I am inspired. Now if I can just hone my skills and creativity to meet your level and stop making excuses. I've been proven so many times by people like you that there are no excuses for failing to succeed on youtube.

    The comment above reminded me that I've experienced the same. I built a website for a non-profit for my wife's aunt for free on the side. I made sure to do a great job. Then, before I knew it, I got no less than 4 paying clients from that one job!!! When you are starting out it makes complete sense to prove yourself and grow your network. You've taken that to a whole new level.

    So, when can we collaborate? Even to get some quick filming and editing tips. I'll be in Utah the first week of July for a family reunion in park city.

    I've got a canon 60d and two wide angle lenses that I've been learning to operate for the past 6 months and I'm ready to take it to the next level.

    I'll buy you lunch!

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Been following you for a while, Devin - love your stuff. I actually found you through Lindsey's vids, because I thought they were so cool, I wanted to see who shot 'em! Didn't know she was your girlfriend, ha! You guys are both awesome. :)

    I get contacted by my fair share of big brands and/or digital media agencies representing those brands. I think I'll start recommending you for the kind of stuff you want to do.

    Look for an email from me in the next few days for more details.

    Keep on rockin'!

  7. Devin, the first "Unknown" comment is me (The guy that will be in Park City in July). My name is Micah Stubz. Sorry I was expecting my profile to show up but I have a bad habit of creating too many google accounts. I'm not a fan of blogspot's comment options. By the way, your work is much more deserving of a real domain and a real blogging platform (ie Wordpress).

    Maybe that would be a good excuse to collaborate. I could help get you up and running on your own website! Let me know if you're interested.

    One video site I've done is
    You can see some of my older work at

  8. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experiences and talents. I have been trying to figure ways of getting people/companies to help fund my camping/kayaking trips and help me see parts of the world that I can't afford on my own. You have given me hope that this is possible. I am not afraid of hard work and with determination I will reach my goals! :)
    Happy trails!

  9. Your videos are amazing! I have been studying film for the past few years and routinely share your videos on our class wall on facebook. We even watched your longest rope jump in class a few weeks ago. I'm raally hoping to one day make videos like these, keep up the good work!

  10. very nice article to get to know you better. your work inspired so many guys who love "Different Kind Of Stuffs". Say Hi. to your very talented girlfriend "Lindsey Stirling, "Keep Rocking man"

    Evewin Lakra

  11. Don't forget the New Trikers that got some "publicity" after the viral video.

  12. Hey mate,

    Very great! Thanks for proving the awesomeness one can achieve in the internet :) You really did a great job, and I'm looking forward to your new collaborations.

    I for myself, have to spent some more time on working on online marketing like SEO, before I can retire as a regisseur :)

    kind regards from Germany,

  13. It is because of ideas and articles like this, I hold a passion for media and online advertising. Great post on why brands need to think engagement and why YouTube is such a important social platform for leveraging an audience.
    If your ever in Australia. I'd love to pick your brain on more of this and other ways brands can get involved,

  14. I have read this post. collection of post is a nice one ..that am doing website designing company chennai india and website development company chennai india. That I will inform about your post to my friends and all the best for your future posts..

  15. Awesome post! Inspirational too!

    I wanted to point out another reason youtube videos generate profits more easily than actual television... with the links and the descriptions you put in your comments, I can go directly to the source to purchase that product, quickly without any googling. Television commercials (static media) make me get up, go to my computer and enter in a website or call a phone number I saw on the screen. You offer a complete experience! From this post, you have it down to a science! Kudos to you and awesome cinematography and work!

  16. Certain type of inspirational music takes you to the world of the imagination and guess what will happen if music connects you to your higher self. Once you are tuned with it, you will come to the point where you can answer, who are you? Where are you? What to do next? Your higher self is your ultimate guide which steers you in the direction that you intended to create for your spiritual contact. Certain souland meditational music helps you succeed in the journey to your higher self.

  17. Awesome post! I'm just a huge fan from France.

  18. Hey Devin!
    Respect for everything!
    I have a question : Your Nature/travel videos (kawai / washington enchantments... ) are they mostly shot at 720p 60fps ? cause you have pretty fluid motions with a really high def, and 5dMII only makes 720p 60fps or 1080p 30fps.
    Thanks man keep it up!

  19. Devin,

    Great stuff man. For the last year or so my marketing team and I watched your videos during staff meeting every week for fun and to get the creative juices flowing. As an entrepreneur so many people don't realize what it takes and the amount of ground work you have to do in order to make the connections and most importantly get real world experience. Can't tell you the number of business plans I've written for other people for FREE just so I could understand their model and so when it came time to do my own, I'd be ready. Congrats on your success. Only going up from here.

  20. Hey its xxHOBOPROxx a youtuber like yourself and i would like to ask if i could be contacted when you have another video shooting. I have been a fan of yours for a long time and love all the creativity you show in your videos.

  21. Replies
    1. all of them are nice videos, especially the lindsey stirlling. i can feel the peacefull.the sound track is sound very good in my ear.

      semir ban

  22. Been following you for a while, Devin - love your stuff. I actually found you through Lindsey's vids, because I thought they were so cool,thank for share

  23. hey devin,

    I am from Singapore and i just want to say that your videos had inspired me greatly. I am looking to build my own youtube channel as well as a video production film. I really hope to be able to do great videos like yours in Singapore where the society and culture at large is just about working and earning the big cash. I hope i can do videos that is fun and that Singapore is more than jus a business hub but also a "play hub"! Keep rocking man!


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  25. Thanks for sharing Devin! You are great at what you do!