The Fresh Prince of YouTube


Will Smith's YouTube Channel

This is a story all about how Will Smith flipped-turned YouTube upside down. Attempting to gain vlogger celeb status, the Oscar-nominated movie star has created his own dedicated channel, providing fans with uplifting and relatable videos such as “Fail Early, Fail Often, Fail Forward,” “Where Do Babies Come From?,” and insider footage from his press tour for Netflix’s Bright. Already loved by Gen Xers and Millennials, Smith’s strategic move to connect with Gen Zs also has him partnering with some of their favorite influencers to promote his channel (hello Lily Singh!). With over 179k subscribers since its December launch, Smith showcases how traditional celebs can capture the attention, eyeballs, and hearts of the next generation of viewers.


Netflix's "Psychasec"

Netflix upped the ante at CES this year with a freaky brand activation promoting their upcoming sci-fi series, Altered Carbon. Dubbed the creepiest booth at the summit (an impressive feat, given that there were pole dancing robots), Netflix created a bio-tech lab that manufactures human bodies called “sleeves” to which people can upload their consciousness and therefore extend their lifespan, complete with the tagline “No body lives forever.” Unlike other CES booths, where the products on display are in the process of hopefully becoming a reality or are soon to be manufactured, Psychasec was luckily a fictional vendor booth—to our knowledge, Netflix has no plans to start manufacturing actual human bodies... for now.


Otma's Body

Who wants to view art when you can wear it? Women’s History Museum is making waves for just that, although it isn’t technically a museum. Rather, the organization is a broad and diverse fashion collective known for its deconstructed fabrics, use of unique materials such as plastic and burned silk, and performative catwalk shows. The designers-slash-visionary artists behind the museum, Mattie Rivkah Barringer and Amanda McGowan, will be launching a boutique art exhibition titled OTMA’s Body tomorrow (January 19th) in Gavin Brown’s Lower East Side gallery space. Intended to disrupt the "boring and safe" New York retail scene, the interactive exhibit will encourage viewers to try on, purchase, and wear the eclectic art out, turning the streets of New York City into a living, breathing museum itself.


Mariah Carey's "Tea-Shirts"

Beyoncé may have her hive, but Mariah Carey’s “lambs” are flocking to her newly launched merchandise in herds. The line is inspired by Carey’s meme-worthy moment at her recent redemption performance on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve show, where she told viewers, “I just want to take a sip of tea if they’ll let me—they told me there would be tea.” In keeping with the spirit of the meme, the merch features an assortment of “tea-shirts” and mugs featuring the phrase “I was told there would be tea” and #FoundMyTea. Capitalizing on what is being coined the first viral meme of 2018, Mariah’s timely line demonstrates how a quick response can turn into a big profit when you have a dedicated fandom.



Our research shows that digital detoxes are becoming increasingly popular as people examine their dependence on technology. Ironically, rather than deleting apps or turning off their phones, Gen Zs downloading new apps to help them “unplug” seems to be the new norm. Looking to assist with the detoxing trend, Nordic app-makers created Hold, an app that times how long users refrain from using their phones. Rather than punishing users for phone usage or blocking distracting apps as other services do, Hold encourages users to stay away from their phone for as long as they can with points that users can redeem at partnering businesses. With beta versions rolling out at college campuses on a regular basis, the app is becoming a hit with students who are competing with their friends to see who can refrain the longest.




Graham the Christian

YouTuber Graham the Christian is capitalizing on the hype surrounding rapper Lil Pump’s ubiquitous “Gucci Gang” tune while raising money for a good cause. Over a two-week period, Graham made headlines for simply live streaming himself saying “Gucci Gang” one million times (about 17 hours per day). Simultaneously trolling the repetitive hit song and raising money for Red Nose Day, an organization that aims to end child poverty, the amusing stunt clearly resonated with Graham’s viewers, who egged him on the comments section and donated over ten thousand dollars to the charity. While certainly not a traditional stunt, we applaud Graham’s efforts to connect with purpose-minded Gen Zs and expand our perception of what it means to do good in the digital age.

Kristin Castillo