Maru the cat made it big on YouTube. Now he’s starring in new ads and an interactive game for clothing brand Uniqlo.
Maru isn’t the first YouTube star to be adopted by brands. AdAge’s Irina Slutsky highlights Lucas Cruikshank, who made humorous videos on the site and saw over 585 million hits as of 2010 (he’s now up to nearly 942 million hits). Cruikshank became a brand ambassador for Hot Topic, Nickelodeon, Taptivate, and 20th Century Fox.
In an interview with Slutsky, director of innovation at Initiative Caroline Giegerich said, “The brands want millions of views, but they also want engaged viewers.” The YouTube sensations are a hit because they’re captivating.
YouTube stars and their videos are proving to be lucrative. Since the Google-owned company is continuing to expand and gaining more clout, expect to see its recgognizable stars popping up in places other than on the site.