YouTuber, Logan Paul, is planning his redemption story. In a 30-minute unedited interview with Casey Neistat (at the end of this article), he talks in detail about the recent controversies on his YouTube channel. Namely his trip to Japan’s Aokigahara forest in December 2017 where he filmed the body of a suicide victim, along with laughing around it. It appeared to be a case of deliberately searching a known suicide spot in Japan for capturing extreme content; video that had never been seen on YouTube before.
Cutting a long story short, the stunt backfired with global media uproar. Logan Paul attempted to explain the situation through statements, interviews, and several self-published videos. The YouTuber known for his extreme and jovial stunts, suddenly found himself thrown into an ethics debate and with a responsibility to explain his motives. Driving views, engagements, and advertising revenue on his YouTube channel were once the only objectives, now it’s bigger than that.
For the first time Logan Paul needed to understand what his personal brand stood for. His merchandise branded ‘Maverick’ no longer has a meaning, instead the logo represents a mistake that may have almost cost him his YouTube career. Research shows that he has already experienced a 47% drop-off in views and an 88% slowdown of subscribers — he admits that his Instagram account has been static for months.
In conversation with Casey, Logan Paul appears to talk openly about the uproar and seemingly reveals a struggle to define his personal brand. He knows his audience demands stunts that ‘push the limits’ of what is acceptable in society, but that is the persona that has been recognised to quite rightly violate YouTube’s community guidelines and, consequently, YouTube removed him from its top-tier monetisation programme.
Arguably, Casey may have played a part in Logan Paul’s publicity programme. The foundations of his redemption story were revealed, a documentary series called The Fight. He is fighting fellow YouTuber, KSI, using this as a hook to tell the story of his YouTube career, the downfall he experienced — Logan Paul has already bet $1 million on himself to win.
Casey is an expert interviewer though, and with Logan Paul’s clear lack of media training, his honesty and struggle to answer some questions may have pierced a hole in his plan for personal brand recovery. Everything is too planned out, even the story around his fight. Attempting to recover a personal brand when it’s so deeply linked to your personality, isn’t easy.
The reality is every influencer has some degree of tunnel vision when publishing content daily. A single day without it will likely cost subscribers and engagement; it’s an uphill struggle. Content is the fuel for the social media machine; speed naturally can lead to a lack of quality. This isn’t an excuse for Paul’s actions, but the added requirement of validating everything created means thinking more deeply.
Paul needs to understand what he stands for, what his audience wants, and then walk that path.
Are we right to forgive his actions? You, and his audience, can only decide that.