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 2007–2016.
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.
Sarah Sykes and John Zimmerman of Carnegie Mellon University, HCII and School of Design, in the article Making Sense of Haul Videos: Self-created Celebrities Fill a Fashion Media Gap, discuss their analysis and research project to examine what makes video bloggers so popular on YouTube, and how it is affecting fashion media through the production of haul videos.
They discovered that most of the content being presented to viewers were “low to mid-range fashion and beauty,” something that is attainable to the majority of the public; versus the high end, and very unattainable (for the average person), fashion covered in popular magazines like Teen Vogue. This connection between the people behind the camera and the millions of young adults that tune in every week to see what the latest fashion trends are, haul videos have begun to change the fashion industry; and as Sykes and Zimmerman have found, this media platform has affected the way retail sales go within weeks of haul videos going public.
Federal Trade Commission
The United States Federal Trade Commission recently[when?] 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 Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission is also closely monitoring such Internet activities.
- Wells, Charlie (15 August 2010). "Even retailers buy into celebrity of haul videos". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
- Joel, Mitch (13 May 2010). "Kids and the mall haul: it's more than geeks baring gifts". Montreal Gazette. Archived from the original on 26 July 2010. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
- Romano, Tricia (6 May 2010). "Look What I Bought (or Got Free)". New York Times. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
- Le, Viet (17 February 2010). "'Haul Videos:' The Ultimate In Materialistic PG Porn?". NPR. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
- Tanaka, Wendy (15 December 2010). "Names You Need To Know: 'Haul Videos'". Forbes. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
- Halkias, Maria (14 July 2010). "J.C. Penney uses teens' videos as back-to-school shopping promos". The Dallas Morning News. Archived from the original on 4 November 2012. Retrieved 14 February 2015.