Insta360 and Casey Neistat’s truly authentic influencer marketing

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Casey Neistat

· 5 min read

I can’t listen to another marketer talk about authenticity. Not because it’s wrong, but because that’s where the conversation usually stops. We nod like Christian and Kermit, agreeing at the oh-so-astute note that marketing should be authentic, followed by absolutely no definition of authenticity.

Authenticity is contextual—it’s defined on a brand-by-brand basis. That’s true on the creator side, too! Movie makers, photographers, and artists strive to define their personal values and style. The best influencer marketing confidently defines authenticity for both the brand and the influencer, ensuring the audience understands a product’s value in their creator’s words.

Teaching’s easier with an example, so let’s look at Insta360’s smart sponsorship of Casey Neistat’s latest vlog.

A company with a very cool, very niche product

Insta360’s name reveals its product. It’s a camera company specializing in 360 footage, advancing a once out-of-reach film style into something more usable. Check the launch video for its new X3 product—it takes a moment to realize all this content is from a camera on the end of a very long selfie stick, not a drone. This is part of the product’s magic.


Very, very cool tech. Very cool footage. But, admittedly, still niche, and at $450, maybe not for the casual Instagrammer. For products with highly specific uses like the Insta360 X3, it’s important to get them in front of the right audiences, not just any pair of eyeballs. That’s what makes Casey Neistat such an excellent partner for the company.

Story first, technology second

Casey Neistat’s a vlogger. Casey’s vlogged about vlogging. Creators have vlogged how to Casey Neistat a vlog. His vlog has earned him an audience of 12.4 million YouTube subscribers that tune in to watch him roam New York City.

I’m a fan. I didn’t pull this example outta some marketing case study—I was just excited to watch the next vlog. His philosophy of using whatever camera you’ve got has always spoken to me.

As a viewer, I trust that if Casey’s using a new camera, it’s because it’ll tell a better story, even if it’s branded content.

Use the product

You can always sniff out which influencers first tried the product after the deal dried. Their dialogue’s heavy with brand-ish language, like they’re reading the bullet points off a whiteboard. Yeah, they’re smiling with pearly whites, but you can see the dollar signs in their pupils.

Neistat? He was using Insta360 before signing a sponsorship deal. Companies often send free product to big name influencers—Neistat tried the X3, actually used it in a few videos, then later accepted a sponsorship. From his vlog: “The reason why I took this brand deal, the reason why I’m making this commercial, is because they sent it to me like a month ago, and I’ve been using it in all my videos—great product, highly recommend checking it out.”

Casey Neistat

That’s as authentic as it gets. I’ve always loved when creators break the fourth wall and remind viewers they’re watching sponsored content. He shows love for the product, shows he’s an actual user, proves he’s used it, and gives that verbal seal of approval. And you are literally seeing the results.

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They let Casey be Casey

Let me remind you—the Insta360 X3 is a 5.7k, 360-degree camera retailing for about $450. Here's how Neistat described the camera's footage:

Casey Neistat

I laughed aloud when “weird shots” popped on the screen. Part of my job at Twitch was turning product features into creative-but-client-friendly ideas—I could imagine certain brand managers screaming if a creator called their product “weird.”

In this case, it’s a perfect explainer. Neistat’s a DIY guy who’s more Sharpie than Photoshop, teaching lessons via cutouts and finger-pointing that simply explain the product’s use case just as well as its website.

Don’t worry, the vlog’s fidelity only gets better. Next up: Casey recording crooked footage of a YouTube vlog of a PT Cruiser played on a computer screen. Yes, seriously.

Casey Neistat

He’s referencing footage from last week’s vlog, which earned 1.8 million views so far (go ahead, toss those in your earned media reports). More importantly, Casey’s showing viewers that his vlog can’t happen without the X3. That the camera’s now essential to his content. If you’re looking for audience support, you can’t ask for a better endorsement than that.

It’s a guy who rarely takes brand deals

I’ve watched Neistat for years and can tell you it’s pretty rare for him to accept a sponsorship deal. This is the guy who scratches the logo off his Ray-Bans.

When a creator is selective with their partnership opportunities, the audience will be more attentive those few times when sponsored content does pop up. The audience will have greater faith the creator is only working with products they believe in.

When brands and creators find that authenticity Venn diagram, the purchases roll in. Casey in point: I dropped $1,500 on a Boosted Board after watching Neistat roll around the city. One of my favorite purchases ever.

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Marketing Brew informs marketing pros of the latest on brand strategy, social media, and ad tech via our weekday newsletter, virtual events, marketing conferences, and digital guides.