From small beginnings paying out video memes like “Harlem Shake” to LA meetings at the Playboy Mansion and brands knocking on their door offering 6 figure sums, RackaRacka’s rise to YouTube superstardom has been meteoric. The majority of their videos may involve fake blood and comedy violence but with 3.7 million subscribers (and growing), nobody can deny that RackaRacka are a genuine YouTube sensation. For Adelaidian twins Michael and Danny Philippou, RackaRacka is about more than just monetisation; it’s about creativity. And the interesting thing for me, making a podcast about community and communication, is that for RackaRacka it’s all about making the content that they want to make; they do it for themselves, nobody else. What I’m discovering is that, despite the clear marketing importance of delivering to your audience something of value to them, when it comes to actually being ‘the drop’, it must start with communicating what’s important to you.
In today’s episode of Be The Drop, which stands out as one of my favourite interview experiences ever purely based on the amount of belly laughs (our RackaRacka bloopers video is an absolute must-see!), Danny and Michael talk about learning from mistakes made, discuss their first feature film, and reveal why they recently turned down a quarter of a million dollars…
Keep failing, keep learning.
They may have hit one million subscribers at the tender age of 22, but they’re certainly not complacent. Danny and Michael admit that they’re still scared of making something that’s not up to scratch. The expectation from their community now is that there’s always going to be action in their videos, so their challenge is keeping the bar they’ve set for themselves high. They push themselves with every video to try out a new film-making technique. It’s the challenges of bringing their creative vision to life that keep them going. As a result, some of their productions can be really expensive. “We’re always trying to do weird and different effects.” But the boys say they’re their harshest critics. “I hate alot of the stuff I’ve uploaded,” says Danny. But that doesn’t stop them from making and uploading video after video. They say: “There’s always stuff that could have been better. Don’t be afraid to make something bad, just keep doing what you’re doing and don’t be afraid to fail. That’s how you learn.”
Young people today watch more internet than films and television. Despite this, RackaRacka are actually developing their first feature film. “We’d always wanted to get into feature film making – the movies – but the new generation want to be YouTube stars ‘cos it’s an easier way to access your audience, it’s easier for the film maker and the viewer, anyone can do it, and it’s relatable.” The YouTube stuff is easy, say RackaRacka. Film is the hard stuff – I mean, how do you keep an audience captivated for 90 minutes?
Head to our Facebook page for more Be The Drop content and behind the scenes videos! Listen to RackaRacka’s podcast episode here:
Don’t compromise yourself.
The boys began the RackaRacka YouTube channel just so they could say who was behind the videos they were making anyway just for fun. And nothing has changed. They may make money out of the YouTube channel, out of merchanidising and developing, but it’s still only the stuff they want to do, that they’re interested in and have creative control over. They’ve always been choosy where money’s concerned. They only started monetising RackaRacka after it hit 1 million subscribers but they’ve never let it compromise the brand. They got a quarter of a million dollar offer from a brand to make a video featuring their product, but the boys turned it down because they wouldn’t have had full creative control. “If we’re not making cool stuff, there’s no point doing it… It needs to be right for us.” They’re making the content they want to create. They don’t allow themselves to be distracted by money, however many zeros are involved.
If we’re not making cool stuff, there’s no point doing it… First and foremost, it needs to be right for us.
Go behind the scenes.
Remember that your community wants to have a conversation with a person, not a business, particularly on social media. Since Facebook treats Pages as businesses, taking away organic reach, the RackaRacka boys use Snapchat every day to communicate with their community. They’re also looking at developing more ‘behind the scenes’ content as their audience becomes more and more interested in who they are as people. People want to see them as they are now (which is why they should check out our bloopers video and the full “serious” interview on YouTube!)
It’s interesting that, when there’s so much out there about knowing your audience and delivering what they want, what we’re seeing through the Be The Drop podcast is that, first and foremost, it’s about doing what you want to do. Identifying who your community is and their needs comes afterwards.
JOIN ME – HELP BATTLE HOMELESSNESS!
Let’s Be The Drop and create a waterfall together! This year, I’ll be participating in the CEO Sleepout to raise money for Vinnies with hundreds of other CEOs and business owners. Community action like this really embodies the spirit of Be The Drop for me. United, we can make a difference; individually, we’re just single drops, but if we work together, we can create a waterfall. I believe passionately in this philosophy and want to live it wholeheartedly, not just talk about it in my podcast.
So, join me in supporting Vinnies and we can change the lives of hundreds of thousands of homeless Aussies. Homelessness is not a choice, but I’m choosing to experience it for just one uncomfortable winter night to raise money to help those people that desperately need it. You don’t need to join me on the soggy cardboard, but you can support my fundraising efforts >> just follow this link to my fundraising page. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Thank you again for tuning in and listening to the BTD podcast. I can’t wait for the next installment to bring you more inspiring people talking about their strategies for connecting with and building a positive community. And if you want more behind the scenes stuff and bits not included in the show, head over to our Facebook page, Instagram or Twitter.
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