Zoella joins Great Comic Relief Bake Off as YouTube star influence rises
James R | On 10, Feb 2015
Zoella will join this year’s line-up of celebrities on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off.
The 24 year old vlogger, whose real name is Zoe Sugg, will not be known by many of the people tuning in to the BBC’s charity series, which starts on Tuesday 11th February. Away from the living room, though, Zoella is one of many YouTube stars, with 7 million people subscribing to watch her videos.
She will be joined by 15 other celebrities, including Joanna Lumley, Lulu, Dame Edna, Jennifer Saunders, Jonathan Ross, Gok Wan, Abbey Clancy, David Mitchell, Sarah Brown, Michael Sheen, Kayvan Novak, Chris Moyles, Victoria Wood, Alexa Chung and Jameela Jamil. The groups will be split up into four instalments, hosted by Sue Perkins, Mel Giedroyc, Jo Brand and Ed Byrne respectively.
Placed alongside the more familiar faces, Zoella’s arrival in the GBBO tent (her episode is broadcast on Wednesday 18th February) marks not just her bread rising, but her influence too. Indeed, Zoella was recently listed in Debrett’s list of the 500 most influential people in Britain.
A new study from GlobalWebIndex, though, suggests that YouTube stars may not be quite as influential as some think.
The report is based on a survey of over 170,000 web users, which found that 4 in 10 said they had watched a vlog in the past month, rising to 50 per cent of those aged between 16 and 24 or 24 and 35.
The rising popularity of YouTube celebrities has seen advertisers turn towards the emerging generation of stars, sensing a chance to make money. Zoella released her first novel, Girl Online, in November 2014, which became the fastest-selling hardback of the year and the biggest-selling debut book of all time. She now charges £20,000 a month to advertisers for being features in our videos, according to The Daily Mail, and has also recently bought a £1m house in Brighton.
But GWI’s study found that just 12 per cent of viewers said they found out about new brands or products from vloggers – at the bottom of the list, below stories on websites, recommendations from friends and search engine results. Their cultural influence is strong, notes the Guardian, but their commercial influence may not be.
“It’s clear that vlogging is still heavily associated with entertainment, comedy and advice – rather than a space for overtly commercial activities,” concludes GWI.
Advertising products on YouTube videos has sparked some controversy in the past, with vloggers on YouTube warned by the Advertising Standards Authority last year to be more open about when they were sponsored or paid by brands to promote their goods.
With The Great British Bake Off consistently driving sales of baking equipment from Amazon and other retailers, though, the arrival of Zoella on BBC One (opposite Wolf Hall, no less) marks a landmark crossover between new and old media – and, surely, will be a recipe for ratings success. Who knows what this mix will produce in 12 months’ time?
Until then, here’s a trailer:
Photo: BBC/Love Productions/Lucille Flood