A haul video is a video recording, posted to the Internet, which displays items recently purchased, including product details or even the price. The posting of haul videos (or hauls) has been a growing trend, during 2007–2010.
By late 2010, nearly a quarter of a million haul videos had been shared on the website YouTube alone. Some of the individual videos have received tens of millions of views. Many young adults (mostly women) have displayed their shopping hauls, while including their beauty and design commentary in the narration. The videos are often grouped by store name or by type of product (cosmetics, accessories, shoes, postage stamps, etc.). Before haul videos became an online trend, millions of people spent time watching other people, in technical product videos, unbox their latest new gadgets and technology. The trend of "unboxing videos" had emerged during 2006. In those videos, the owners would show the entire process of opening, configuring, and activating their latest high-tech gadgets.
Haul videos also have created instant celebrity for some people. Other haul video bloggers have entered sponsorship deals and advertising programs from major brands. Some have translated their YouTube fame into product deals, magazine articles, and other media/journalism deals, however the majority of haulers are unsponsored and simply motivated by the social reward of being seen as an "expert" in shopping.
Haul videos rarely ever have anything negative to say about the products. The rationale for those positive reviews is that the buyers wouldn't typically purchase something unless they really wanted it. Hence, the owners generally report positive experiences, after having selected which products to buy. This aspect of the genre of haul videos makes sponsorship by brand advertisers particularly appealing. Brands such as J.C. Penney reached out to haulers as part of their marketing efforts for Back To School 2010.
Haul videos also convinced three San Francisco Bay area natives to launch HaulBlog - a parody site that creates fake haul videos which poke fun at the phenomenon. The site is also home to the original monthly web series "The Haul Monitor" a humorous commentary show that features haul videos from around the community.
The United States Federal Trade Commission recently enacted laws to regulate many types of online publishers and content creators. The posted information includes blogging and podcasting in text, images, audio and video.
While any publishers (including the haul-video creators) are allowed to accept free merchandise and advertising, the gifts or payments must be fully (and clearly) disclosed to reveal being paid by a brand name, as a sponsor, to review a product. The Canadian equivalent of the FTC in Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, is also closely monitoring such Internet activities.
- "Even retailers buy into celebrity of haul videos", San Francisco Chronicle, SFGate.com, 15 August 2010, web: SFC-1.
- "Kids and the mall haul: it's more than geeks baring gifts", Mitch Joel, The Gazette, Montrealgazette.com, 13 May 2010, web: MG5.
- "Skin Deep - Haul Video Brings a Bag of Finds, and Words Only", New York Times, NYtimes.com, 6 May 2010, web: NYT-06.
- "'Haul Videos:' The Ultimate In Materialistic PG Porn? : NPR", NPR.org, 17 February 2010, web: NPR-2.
- "Names You Need To Know: 'Haul Videos'", Blogs.Forbes.com, 15 December 2010, web: .
- "J.C. Penney uses teens' videos as back-to-school shopping promos", DallasNews.com, 14 July 2010, web: .