Curiously Awesome YouTube Marketing: An Interview with the Creators of Vat19

Jamie Salvatorie, the owner of Vat19.comMeet Jamie Salvatorie, the owner of Vat19.Com. With an army of nearly 300,000 subscribers and over 200 million combined YouTube views, Salvatorie and his team are shaping the way brands approach online video.

Witty, quirky, and flat out entertaining, Vat19’s videos have gone viral and are a new type of advertisement: promotions that people actually want to watch. Their most recent video, for instance, is an advertisement for a Ghostbusters Stay Puft Pillow, which has accumulated 30,000 views within its first 24 hours!

So What’s the Secret to Vat19’s Success?

If the Vat19 crew comes across as quirky and over-the-top in their highly entertaining videos, the same can be said of them in real life… in a good way! During our interview, we found that instead of focusing on nitty-gritty granular stats, Vat19 is about the big picture. This focus on the overall marketing plan and the vibe they portray is what has helped establish their presence online.

ISM: What percentage of your overall marketing plan do your YouTube videos represent?

Jamie Salvatorie: I don’t have an exact number, but the videos are very important to our marketing. Obviously, everything starts with the products. The more awesome the product, the easier it makes the job for the video department.

We see our dedication to highly informative and highly entertaining videos as a major differentiation factor for We’ve produced over 400 videos and believe that they are a major contributor to our success thus far. We engage in many other forms of advertising and marketing, but our videos are a major part of our overall plan.

ISM: How do you track the ROI of a video?

Salvatorie: We look at YouTube as a single entity. We don’t break things down on an individual video basis. So, we’ll investigate total traffic referral from YouTube and how that compares to conversion rate. We also inquire from purchasers as to how they first found out about We’ll track the answers to determine if YouTube is a rising or falling trend. For the past several years, it has been a rising trend. Basically, many of our customers are first discovering us via YouTube.

Rubber Band Guns

I define the success of the video entirely independently of its metrics on YouTube. You can easily have a video with enormous stats, but it may not be a success or triumph as far as I’m concerned. We are passionate about video and our goals are set internally. We can just tell which videos turned out well and which ones fell a bit below our expectations. I hope that makes sense!

ISM: That definitely makes sense! So what do you consider a successful video then? What internal barometer do you use to say this video worked, this one didn’t? What’s your most successful video to date?

Salvatorie: Because we can’t pinpoint which video (or videos) were watched prior to a customer placing an order, we can only gauge the effectiveness of each video in a very un-scientific way. We’ll look at how many views, likes, dislikes, and comments the video receives on YouTube. This is by no means any indication of the relative commercial success of the product. But it does provide some level of feedback. I cannot stress enough that those stats, similar to comments, must sometime be taken with a grain of salt on YouTube.

Our highest-viewed video to date is for our World’s Largest Gummy Worm. The last I checked it was over 14 million views.

ISM: Do you hire professional talent or use an in-house crew?

Salvatorie: We produce all of our videos in-house.

ISM: Do you cross promote your own products even if a product also has its own video?

Salvatorie: We tend not to explicitly cross promote products between videos. The reason is that products can change, be discontinued, or become irrelevant, and we wouldn’t want to “pollute” another video with information that could become obsolete in the future.

Beard Hat

ISM: Smart planning. So, how do Facebook and Twitter play a role in any of this?

Salvatorie: We use Facebook and Twitter to not only announce new products and new videos, but to create a deeper connection with our fans. So, we’ll produce some amount of special content for those outlets as well as behind-the-scenes and blooper photos and videos. We try to show off more of our personality via those outlets.

Many thanks to Jamie Salvatorie and Vat19 for the curiously awesome interview!

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