Casey Neistat Hides an Ad Behind His Vlog

One of the latest vlogs from Casey Neistat was a little different to the others. If you are like me, you have subscribed to his channel, and have noticed that his approach and energy towards it has changed quite significantly since he took his break. But now it’s become a marketing platform, and his vlogs are just marketing brands and products. This vlog especially, with a teenage fantasy that he’s always wanted to experience during summertime as concept, and him pursuing it. At the end of the video the sponsorship messaging, which is obviously great from the brand’s perspective, but not so much for the viewer. We watch vlogs because of its candid, honest nature. With this vlog, it’s not true anymore.  

Is This "Ad" Speaking the Truth? 

The guy featured in the videos with him is vlogger Jesse Welle. In his video about Neistat's video you can see what gear was used to shoot the ad with the Samsung phones. They are mounted to drones and professional lenses which isn’t really what a buyer of a Samsung phone will get out of the box. Depth of field and wide angles are not adjustable with mobile phones.  

Secondly, the whole teenage fantasy idea is a great concept, but did they really have to find two girls walking across the road and get them in the car to join them, like that’s what's needed when you are cool and successful? Neistat is married, so this was a strange way to add to the story, especially from the viewer not knowing it’s basically an ad for a mobile phone. The cover and thumbnail of the video is also a little strange, the woman in the foreground with her provocative, sexual pose is quite different to what I considered as something Neistat stands for.  

Lastly, Jesse, his partner in the video called his vlog post “How to Pick Up Girls With Casey Neistat.” The video gives a behind-the-scenes view of what went in to the shooting of this ad. Now I suppose there are many people who would like to watch and learn from a title like that, but it’s really objectifying. Picking up girls, like picking up your ego after you try their methods, really isn’t the best approach. The only way to speak to people, especially if they are of a different sex, is to just be yourself and do your own thing. There is no strategy to pick up girls. Just be you.  


The camera did a great job in shooting this vlog, so Samsung did well here. The editing is done in Neistat's style and is always good to watch. Neistat as a business person did great too. His bank account surely looks positively different after this video. The only people I think who are not really impressed are his loyal viewers, and in my view, they’re the ones to care about most. If the video gave an indication that this is all done for promotional purposes from the start, and that everything is going to be shot on Samsung phones, it would've been better in my opinion. 

What do you think, am I making a big deal out of nothing, do I care too much or did it bother you too? I'm not unsubscribing from his channel, but I do click past the ads to not "fund" it like I used to. 

Wouter du Toit's picture

Wouter is a portrait and street photographer based in Paris, France. He's originally from Cape Town, South Africa. He does image retouching for clients in the beauty and fashion industry and enjoys how technology makes new ways of photography possible.

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He sold his app for how much? You think he wouldn't just jump to making commercials of his vlog? Not calling him a sellout, but he sold out.

what you mean "jump to" ? he always used his channel for virals, since way before the vlog. this is from 5 years ago:

I gotta agree with you here. As someone who occasionally watches Casey (I tend to get bored with his larger than life 'I can do anything I want every day if I want' attitude), this was blatantly one of his worst videos IMO. I'm all for people doing paid promotional videos, but you CLEARLY have to state that. Do I think it's wrong he waited till the end to do that... yea I do it's misleading for those that are watching. If you didn't finish the video you would never know it was a paid sponsorship not to mention aren't you supposed to check that little box when uploading that says 'this is a paid sponsorship?' hmm. Regardless, once the girls came into the video I literally was immediately turned off. Not because of the girls, because yea they were hot, but because I immediately knew this was not a Casey Neistat video, but a promotional video. See, the REAL Casey would not objectify women like that, and the real Casey would never just hang out with girls behind his wife's back no matter what kind of relationship they had with some greasy loser who thinks hes cool faking a pimp slap. It does NOT send a good message to the youth of the world that watch his channel. It basically says 'hey if you buy this phone chicks will love you' as if that is the end all be all in life. Personally I'm not a huge Neistat fan, but I definitely respect what he's done and is doing for the filmmaking and youtube communities. He's brought the mass market down to a personal level like no one else, and THAT is what I find most interesting about him. Doing paid product sponsorships.... that's cool we all gotta make money, but it just seems kinda 'sellout' to do it the way he did... not to mention just plain misleading and fake.

Guys like Casey and Jesse don't care. It's all about creating that buzz and going viral. No telling how much money Samsung spent renting choppers, yachts, drone operators, etc, but the video got the views they wanted. Something felt different early on in the video when it was clear he wasn't shooting the video by himself like he normally does. Then it's revealed that his other film making buddy Max was doing a lot of it. I'm thinking he probably edited the video too as he's done some other Neistat videos. I'm probably in the minority, but Neistat has jumped the shark for me...I still watch his videos, but usually come away not as impressed as I used to be. Let me go on record saying I'll be really surprised if his CNN venture turns out to be a huge success as well.

I'm in exactly the same boat. It's okay - he's moving on to a different target audience that doesn't include me any more. That's his prerogative, I suppose!

I am a long time Casey watcher and really enjoy his vlogs... except this one. At first I thought it was a normal vlog episode but as time went on it became clear that this was something else. I don't begrudge Casey for making a good living by making videos, but it would have been nice to know ahead of time that this was an ad.

So, to express your distaste for the video, you give it even more coverage?

Luckily I caught the jist of the video without giving it the clicks it doesn't deserve.

Or how about, if you don't voice your distaste/opinion on something, it gives whatever the issue is more legitimacy (even though this Neistat video is not)

So you are basically bashing the guy because he makes his money by creating content??? I might have missed the memo where we are supposed to start creating free content, just for the pleasure of our audience. What happened to "Exposure doesn't pay the bills". I hate samsung (apple fanboy here) but this was well done, samsung was very smart to use him to create this vlog style video to sell their product .

Amen, I mean fstopper's staff have reviewed fstopper's paid tutorials... Is kinda the same.

Did Casey Neistat just turn into Tai Lopez?

Not that I would turn down the money... but that was pretty bad.

Sigh...another Casey article.

Let the man earn a living, many who read here would trade places instantly given the chance.

It's not like he hasn't done ads before. Didn't he do a rather famous one for Nike? Pff.

Quit yer crying. The vlog episodes are still there. This just isn't one of them. Boo-hoo. *rolleyes*

never mind

Sooner or later everybody bombs. It's what we do afterwards that determines our true character.

I predict CNN will bail on BEME because Casey ran away and HID from them while doing paid advertising gigs for Samsung under the guise of a VLOG while CNN is wondering where their investment went.

If you have been watching his videos for awhile then you should know that as soon as he starts the voiceover that it is not a vlog... Do you think he made all his money by only creating free content? It's a brand that he works with a ton, and he has done a bunch of these made on samsung ads. I don't get why this one is so bad?

The most amazing part of the ad is how Jesse and Casey fit their egos in to those small cars. I have no trouble with creatives making money, but guys how about some humility.

Yup, you blew it way out of proportion. Still a Casey video, storytelling and editing. Its either you hate that Samsung helped or you hate the content of the video. Which he actually makes fun of it. It was a reminiscing video that all male 12yr olds once had. Thats why he said the 12yr me has a lot to learn. Regardless pay attention to the words, "Summer reminds us to get outside and live a little...Its about having and enjoying every damn minute....Its about the spirit of being alive." If anyone is hating, they have serious jealousy issues.

The message and ethical practice of the execution of the "story telling and editing" are critical and can't be swept under the rug. It was deceptive not to mention a cliche lame premise. Nice try though. Hate this isn't hate, this is merely not enjoying the content, hate is like super destructive you shouldn't mix the two up. Also because we don't like it, doesn't mean we hate, it's not black and white man, are you logical AT ALL?

Um he's been using sexy girls in his videos for ages....

It's tired ..that's about it..tired..he sold at the peak..well maybe after...but whatever, it's simply tired and artificial

I caught on pretty quickly it was one of his produced commercial pieces... Max teams with Case, writing and making his last few commercials. This was Casey playing it up, and everyone was a paid actor. So nobody was harmed in the filming except some gentle souls who wants to keep Casey doing the same thing. I'm guessing Samsung has a multi commercial deal with Casey, since this seems like the fourth or fifth commercial for them.... Hollywood sign and snowboard droning... not to mention their launch event. If you didn't realize it

Looks like Samsung has now ditched Casey. No more samsung watches, he's back to his apple watch and being seen with his IPHONE over his Galaxy. Buh BYE

Yeah, I thought all the same things as you wrote in the article. He's always made money with brands, but the way he went about it here seemed disingenuous because he wasn't up front about it.

The objections to his brand deals are not that he's successfully doing it, it's that the way he goes about it lately does not seem so honest and open as before.

I agree that his choice to pick up random girls with Jesse was in bad taste, given his marriage and family feature heavily in his regular vlog.

I still love watching Casey's vlogs on youtube, but i gotta admit that his older vlogs were more entertaining and inspiring than his new vlogs (after CNN acquisition)

and subsequent firing lol...Casey should have been focusing on BEME 2.0 at this point, this was what he was doing when the tough got going at Beme he "ran away hid and made youtube videos for money from another client". I can only imagine his Beme team was like "what the hell Casey, were is your creative direction"?

There's nothing wrong with selling out, especially from an artistic perspective. From the earliest times from Ancient Greece to the renaissance and to the modern day, artists make a living selling their products for cold hard cash, be it from specific piece or from general patronages (think Mozart or the legions of beneficiaries from these days). Everyone has to make a living and we should applaud anyone who can conjure up a living like this. Authenticity is in the eye of the beholder and an artists ability to weave a story around his work is at times even more impressive than the work itself (think Van Gogh's ear or Da Vinci's Mona Lisa - who was this woman anyway?)

My point is that Casey Neistat has a symbiotic relationship with his patron (in this case Samsung) where they fund his creative pursuits and he shows off their hardware). Was Apple's 1984 commercial a sell out moment? Unlikely. In fact the 1970's hipster community that gave birth to titans of industry who have advanced artistic endeavours through computing had to (and did) sell, sell out of everything they made. Let's support these endeavours in 2017...

I hear you Juan Carlos, and I didn't mean to come across as being negative. Let the artists rise.

I think it was an awesome video. If it was shot with Samsung cameras/phones even better.
It goes to show you that you don't need a lot of pretentious gear to get a creative point across.

Yes he had at least 5-10 crew making sure the script went perfectly, and they did a great job.

I am a big fan of Casey and the way he creates, narrates, vlogs, uses FCP and makes money.

Don't be salty, appreciate people that are not being assholes to you or your eyes. I.e everything on tv.

If you don't like him anymore, don't watch him.

Stop being salty.


Hi Vladimir, it's not being salty, and I really like the work Casey does and his style of doing it. Instagram users have to show when a post has been sponsored or not. I think Youtube should do the same.

Youtube should do the same, you have entire kids channels that are simply a commercial for a toy. There's no education, there's no learning, you know what a kids TV program has to jump through at that age group to get broadcast approval? I'm not one for regulation, but influencers have a HUGE influence over their audience, they need to be regulated and clear guidelines written out.

THIS IS AN AD/PAID sponsorship needs to come up BEFORE a video is fully played.

Pretentious gear? Did you see the rigs that were attached to the phone? Might as well shot it with a DSLR, would have had a bigger sensor and better image quality. It's funny though your attempt to discredit the article given your lack of understanding what it took to make the video. Doesn't matter if the video was shot on a smart phone, it was jerry rigged with tens of thousands worth in filmmaking gear..makes the whole premise irrelevant.

I enjoy follow Casey's videos for the spirit that he sunks them in, the raw will to do more. And of course, the way he uses video making tools
When I watched this video I instantly understood the it wasn't a vlog, but a short.

But to find out that it actually was a ad, only in the end of the video was disappointing. Over that the content itself didn't look of felt like Casey.

Of course, he has already made ads on his channel. But this one didn't fit in, felt dishonest.

yeah. I've watched plenty of his videos. But this one I skipped due to the thumbnail.

FStoppers is the problem, NOT him.
If you follow him, you know he has a contract with samsung, if you watched him for a long time you know, THIS is what he does... In hes vlogs hes very specific when trying new things, if the are or aren't induces advertisements.... And if samsung (just like Nike) wants a video /advertisement. Who better to do it than him.... I se no problem... Your the problem for making it one.

I honestly don't care if he never stated the video was sponsored. It's the internet folks - were all adults and can make our own decisions if we want to purchase a phone from Samsung. It really doesn't affect my life that someone got paid for making a commercial and didn't tell me. Who really cares? Are we that sensitive now that we need to get angry about someone making a video that entertained a few people?

As for him being married and simply hanging out with models - what's wrong with that? It's not like he slept with them. And don't actors do the same thing? Why don't we get mad at product placement in movies then? NO ONE TOLD ME THAT THIS PERFECTLY PLACE PEPSI CAN IN THIS MOVIE WAS A SPONSOR - IM OUTRAGED.

Free entertainment gets me so triggered! /endsarcasm

Calm yer tits.

And you just gave him another platform to promote and are now not any better #notwatching

Who cares, the guys just trying to make a living...

If you watched his videos, you would have known from the start this wasn't a vlog. It sounds like a hit piece about someone you don't like.

"Different from", not "different to".