This is definitely not a post I ever thought I’d be writing; one inspired by a Zoella advent calendar. But here I am. I’ve seen a lot of comments from bloggers on Twitter criticising (and rightly so) Zoella’s new 12 day advent calendar that costs a whopping £50. Not to mention notebooks from her lifestyle range sell for £15 when you can buy the same quality one from Primark for £2. Bloggers have pointed out just how out of touch with her audience she is if she thinks £50 is an affordable price point for a 12 piece calendar. Bear in mind that the gifts in the advent calendar include a candle, room spray and confetti… that’s right, £50 for confetti.
It was maybe a year or so ago that I watched Louise Pentland, then a Sprinkle of Glitter’s, video about distancing herself from her current audience. In her video entitled ‘Finishing With Sprinkle of Glitter’ she talks about how she felt bored of the content she was making because she had grown up out of it. Looking back on her channel now you can definitely see the change in content after her video, in comparison to before it. For example, she has a “Chatting sex, religion and politics” just two videos after her announcement, which is a video I never expected Sprinkle of Glitter to do. I have never had as much respect for Louise as I did whilst watching that video.
Louise changed her content because she was creating for an audience that she was simply too grown for at 31 years old. Zoella’s now 27, her videos are very much the same kind of peppy-cute reviews that I watched several years ago when she first started. Her content and her brand hasn’t changed as she’s gotten older but her merchandising and prices have. It’s time to question whether Zoella and her brand are out of touch with their audience and if so should she be changing?
some working class families are probably busting their asses right now trying to afford that £50 Zoella advent calendar and I don’t know how she can live with that knowing it’s worth about a fiver
— sophie (@sophxthompson) November 13, 2017
Zoella is a perfect example of people deliberately using their platforms for nothing other than to give themselves a bigger pay cheque every month. £50 for a poorly designed 12 day cheap advent calendar is an insult to anyone who has ever supported her
— Harriet Wright (@harriet_wrightx) November 13, 2017
JaackMaate’s video inspired me to see how much Zoella’s £50 Christmas Advent calendar was worth.
After searching for each item on Amazon and Primark, buying each item individually would all together cost you £21.57 (roughly). So you’re paying: £28.43 extra for her name on it. pic.twitter.com/uCXnNDUSzl
— Yasmine (@YasmineSumman) November 11, 2017
When I think of the Zoella ‘fan base’ or avid watcher I do not imagine someone Zoe’s age. In fact I don’t even think of someone who, at 17, is ten years younger. I imagine girls in the first few years of high school, hooked on content that feels like their big sister is talking to them directly. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with having a younger audience, and I don’t necessarily think that Zoella is a bad role model (but I don’t think she’s the greatest one either). But if your audience is younger, it’s terribly unfair to exclude them from your product.
Take this advent calendar for example, this isn’t a present for Christmas. It’s a present leading up to it, and the contents of the calendar do not come near to £50’s worth. I’ve seen a few come to her defence in saying that “Well the packing costs…” “The branding costs…” I can tell you with absolute certainly that branding, packaging and labour costs do not equal that much money. Some have argued that Zoella doesn’t have any control over her products, even though Zoe has said herself several times that she’s involved in the process start to finish. My question to those people who still come to the defence is, really? It’s her brand, it’s her name. If Zoella says it’s too expensive, the content or the price will change. It’s called product development and she will be involved.
It’s time to stop defending bloggers and vloggers when they do things that aren’t exactly morally sound. Just because you like or respect them doesn’t mean that they can do no wrong.
Like many YouTubers, Zoella has a time limit before her content has to change. Can you imagine a 35/40 yr old Zoella appealing to the same audience she appealed to at 22? Probably not. All of us at some point in our lives have changed. Some of us may have changed our content, either drastically or subtly over the years. A good example I can think of in the blogging world is Victoria from InTheFrow. Her blog changed massively after she moved from Manchester to London and now it’s better and more successful than ever. Change isn’t a bad thing. I hope that Zoella doesn’t feel like if she changes her content that, “you’ve changed” is an insult, rather than a blessing.
At the end of the day, everyone has to make money to pay their rent, their bills etc. Zoella’s done an excellent job of building an empire for herself that and, for that I respect her. But for creating merch that excludes her lower class audience, that excludes her younger audience end of, means that I cannot like her. I would love to see her create things that are more accessible for younger viewers to watch in the future. I would love for her to grow her content and experiment as she, and her audience, grows. But who knows if next year we’ll be complaining about her £60 advent calendar instead?
I’d love to know your thoughts down below. Do you think Zoe should adapt and grow her content with her audience? Or should she target the same age audience even as she grows up? Do you feel that her calendar is exploitative or not? Let me know down below.
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