In a recent episode of “The Ben & Marc Show,” billionaire venture capitalist Marc Andreessen shared a provocative perspective on the future of consumer products, suggesting that items endorsed and created by YouTube stars, once considered mere gimmicks, may represent the future of consumer-product relationships.
Andreessen argued that traditional consumer brands like Coca-Cola and Kraft Mac & Cheese owe their existence to the media landscape prevalent during their creation. He highlighted the emergence of products associated with YouTube personalities, citing examples like MrBeast’s Feastables snacks and Logan Paul’s Prime energy drinks.
While some may view these ventures as temporary fads driven by celebrity endorsements, Andreessen sees a broader trend. He pointed to non-YouTube celebrities like George Clooney with Casamigos Tequila and Kim Kardashian with her Skims shapewear, which has evolved into a $4 billion business.
Andreessen challenged the notion that these influencer/creator-branded products are merely gimmicks, suggesting that this approach might be the future of consumer products. In contrast to the mass media era, where brands were primarily built through TV commercials, Andreessen sees a shift toward a more personalized and individualized approach.
He highlighted the historical reliance on conglomerates like Unilever, Kraft Foods, and Procter & Gamble, which provided consumer products with which shoppers generally interacted. According to Andreessen, this approach resulted in an “unnatural configuration” where consumers had a relationship with a brand or corporation rather than with a person.
Drawing a contrast, Andreessen pointed out that younger generations, including his own son, are forming connections with individual creators like MrBeast. Despite the lack of a two-way interaction, there’s an emotional affinity with a person rather than a faceless brand or corporation.
In contemplating the future, Andreessen speculated that the current trend of influencer/creator-led products might be the beginning of a significant shift. He suggested that, 20 years from now, brands could predominantly be led by individuals, marking a transformative transition in the way consumers relate to and engage with the products they use. Whether this prediction holds true remains to be seen, but Andreessen’s insights offer a thought-provoking perspective on the evolving landscape of consumer brands.