First off, the hardtracking staff admits we’re way behind the curve when we have to rely on NPR to keep us up to date.

That said, here’s the latest front in the stealth marketing juggernaut: Haul Videos.

Representative sample (this has 1,713,861 views).

Story via All Things Considered:


Showing Off Shopping Sprees, Fashion ‘Haulers’ Cash In Online

Before getting to her homework, Abigail Moscaritolo, 19, sits in her unadorned room and adjusts her webcam. With little effort, she spills about the cute things she bought last week: a lazy white tee, a couple of basic black tops, bohemian-like earrings.

“This was on sale for $20 with 70 percent off, so you do the math,” she says, holding up an oversized shirt.

She’s making a “haul video” — the YouTube equivalent of calling a best friend and gushing about a recent shopping spree. Trivial details are accepted and overexcitement is encouraged.

“I thought it’d be cool to give fashion inspiration to other people,” says Moscaritolo, who constantly reassures her audience that she’s not bragging about her finds.


It’s also, for some, lucrative.


There are many ways haulers partner with companies, [Caitlin Ellsworth, a.k.a. Glamourista 16] says. Some review products from retailers that then pay them. Others receive commission on sales generated by videos that feature a company’s product. In some cases, girls with corporate sponsors host contests to give away products.

“You can definitely make a lot,” Ellsworth says. “Some girls are making six figures. So, it can definitely be a good job.”

In every scenario, haulers are required under Federal Trade Commission guidelines to disclose in videos if they received free things.


Raise your hand if you think that happens much.

Us neither.

To the hardtracking staff, this is just a bunch of longhaired teenage girls babbling about their latest fashion finds.

But to stealth marketers, it’s gold.


John R. Carroll is media analyst for NPR's Here & Now and senior news analyst for WBUR in Boston. He also writes at Campaign Outsider and It's Good to Live in a Two-Daily Town.
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