Casey Neistat. Everyone on YouTube knows him. Everyone on YouTube loves him. So… Who is Casey Neistat?
Who is Casey Neistat and what does he do?
Casey Owen Neistat was born March 25th 1981. He is married to Candice Pool Neistat who is a jewellery designer. He has two kids, 20-year-old Owen and 3-year-old Francine.
Casey grew up in Connecticut and but moved to New York City in 2001 at the age of 20. In many of his videos Casey has talked about the impact 9/11 had on him. Despite his dad’s advice to move back to Connecticut, Casey stayed in New York City and started making movies with his older brother Van. His first big video was made in 2003 when his iPods battery died. In this pre-social media era — the video went viral.
In 2008, Casey and Van sold an 8 episode TV show to HBO which aired on the network in 2010. That same year, Casey uploaded his first video to YouTube. It was a public service announcement explaining when and when not to pull the emergency break on the New York City subway station. This would not be the last time Casey shared his voice about transportation in New York City.
A year later, in June 2011, Casey uploaded a video criticizing a $50 ticket he received for not riding his bike in the bike lane. The video was appropriately titled Bike Lanes. It went viral. In TIME magazines Top 10 Everything of 2011, Bike Lanes was number 8 on top 10 creative videos of the year. Currently the video has 20 million views.
Casey’s following began to grow. He posted videos on anything and everything. From his wallet, the New York City Soda ban, and his family. Over the years he’s made some sponsored videos and commercials for companies like Samsung, Google, Finn Jewelery (One of Candices companies), J. Crew and Mercedes.
In 2012 he most notably made a video for Nike titled ‘Make It Count’.
Then… On March 25th 2015 — his 34th birthday — Casey Neistat started the daily vlog. In this vlog he did EVERYTHING. He created a $12 McDonalds burger, he stayed in expenisive hotel rooms, tested drones and has vlogged many first class flying experiences. His most viewed video and vlog episode is THE $21,000 FIRST CLASS AIRPLANE SEAT which currently sits at 51 million views.
Then, 19 months, 5 million subscribers, a billion views and over 500 episodes later, Casey ended the vlog. He started working with CNN after they aquired his app called Beme. However in early 2017 Casey severed ties with CNN and Beme was shut down.
Casey continued to create video content, working closely with Samsung. For the 89th Annual Academy Awards he directed and starred in a commercial for the company. In March he posted a video called Do What You Can’t in collaboration with Samsung. He also continued to travel and document those travels, staying in expensive hotel rooms and taking many more lavish first class plane trips. He’s reviewed tech products from new phones to new drones. Although not daily, Casey continued to post regular content.
Earlier this month Casey launched a new daily series on his YouTube channel called 368 (named after the building his studio and workspace is in). 368 has already been a success within its first 2 weeks of launch with almost every video getting over a million views.
Staples of a Casey Neistat Video
There are a few things that Casey Neistat does or includes in his videos that define his style as a creator.
The Sunglasses and The Boosted Board
These are two items that are always featured in Caseys videos. Casey wears his custom sunglasses in basically every video he makes. Not only are they a staple of his videos but they are also part of his signature style. The boosted board is Casey’s main mode of transportation. He brings it with his on almost every trip and does not hesitate to ride it through the airport.
All of Casey’s videos feature music which he edits perfectly to the shots being presented. Usually it is an original song he has found on soundcloud but every once in a while he features a remix of a popular song such as in his Snowboarding with the NYPD video which is edited to a remix of Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York”.
Walking into Frame
Another staple of a Casey Neistat video is Casey walking into frame. This makes the videos feel more relaxed and more personal. The audience and viewers really feel like Casey is talking directly to them.
Timelapses and Drone Footage
This is what sets Caseys vlogs apart from other YouTubers. His timelapses and drone footage add a creative element to his daily vlogs that also serve as great transitions or establishing shots. These make the vlogs feel less like a daily vlog and more like a short movie.
Using Visuals and Objects to Emphasize
Another thing that Casey does that helps his videos go the extra mile is using B-Roll footage and objects to emphasize his points. For example; he keeps all of his old footage and old cameras which he uses frequently to help stylize videos or demonstrate his love for creatings videos and movies.
Casey by the numbers;
As of today (April 18th 2018) these are Casey’s numbers online.
YouTube: 9,263,394 subcribers
‘Classics’ YouTube Channel: 145,306 subscribers
Twitter: 1.81 million followes
Facebook: 917,154 likes & 925,709 followers
Instagram: 3 million followers
Why is Casey so successful?
It is undeniable that Casey Neistat has had tremendous success on Social Media. So… what has made Casey so successful online?
Casey is undeniably himself. He maintains his personal brand by being authentic .He is not afraid to share his opinions and post them for the world to see. He is transparent when it comes to his views. This helps him to be more relatable to audiences. When he reviews a product — whether it was sent to him or he bought it — he gives an honest review which helps audencies to trust what he says. His interactions with fans are also authentic. He seems like an authenticly nice and sincere guy in is videos so fans feel a connection and when they meet him in person the person they’ve seen in those videos is the same.
When creators use clickbait online they have to use the perfect “clickbait formula”. It has to be shocking or exciting enough that people click on the content they are being presented. However it cannot be too far from what is being presented. Casey is no stranger to clickbait. He also knows what the right amount of clickbait is which helps him to get the views he wants and needs on videos. For example this vlog which Casey posted in April 2016 titled; “is she PREGNANT?” with a thumbnail of a Casey’s wife Candice’s stomach and Casey’s hand reaching out towards it. Obviously fans knew this was Candice and clicked to find out if the Neistat’s were expecting another child and although the topic was talked about for less than a minute, it was discussed so fans were not angry at this kind of clickbait.
Original and Creative Videos
For a long time daily vlogs on YouTube were, to be brutally honest, boring. They mostly just involved a YouTuber talking to a camera while showing short clips of other things happening in their days. The only people who really watched daily vlogs were fans who wanted to see what their favourite YouTubers everyday lives were like. YouTubers use to (and some still do) have a second channel dedicated solely to daily vlogging. Casey Neistat re-invented and re-defined the daily vlog. He showed that they could be creative and exciting. Instead of simply holding the camera and talking to it, he approached the videos as if he were having a conversation with the audience. These original and creative videos and vlogs interest people and so they not only want to see what Casey does in his day to day life but they want to see what he is going to produce next.
What is next for Casey?
Caseys new 368 project is opening the door to a new chapter in his career. In the first episode of 368, he talked about starting a new podcast, and creating a space for other creators to produce content. Casey’s success continues to build and if he keeps producing authentic, original and creative content — that success will only keep rising.