Logan Paul's CryptoZoo failed venture and mangled crisis management is a cautionary tale of the importance of marrying influence with aptitude in creator-owned brands.


Last month, self-styled influencer investigator Stephen Findeisen - aka. Coffeezilla - began a three-part video series about CryptoZoo, a cryptocurrency game owned by Logan Paul. Findeisen called it a "scam".

Paul posted a response video threatening legal action against Findeisen. The appalling Paul brother said CyptoZoo made a mistake hiring "conmen" and "felons" but distanced himself from accountability. In fact the response video was notable in its failure to take accountability for the failed enterprise. It failed to outline a roadmap for when the game would be launched. It failed to explain how the game’s investors would be reimbursed. 

Then, at the weekend Paul, deleted his video and apologised to Findeisen. According to the BBC, he also wrote on the CryptoZoo Discord page that he would be "taking accountability, apologising and coming forward with a plan in the near future".

Creator-owned brands will continue to hit the headlines this year, as creators look to expand their revenue streams beyond solely being reliant on social media.

Many are already wildly successful: Emma Chamberlain’s coffee, MrBeast’s chocolate and burgers, David Dobrik’s pizza. Even Logan Paul and KSI’s sports drink - that we discussed last week in my Fourth Floor newsletter column. Many more creators will successfully build their own brands beyond content in 2023.

CryptoZoo, however, is also a cautionary tale of the importance of marrying influence with aptitude. If MrBeast Burgers suck, it will negatively impact Jimmy Donaldson’s other businesses. Same for Dobrik with his pizza brand, Doughbrik. Same for Logan Paul and the currently-surging Prime Hydration… And maybe that’s why Paul changed his stance on CryptoZoo.

When, on New Year’s Eve 2017 Logan Paul uploaded a vlog which included footage of a suicide victim in Japan’s Aokigahara forest, Paul had only his YouTube Adsense money to lose. 

Today Logan Paul’s business ventures run to clothing, podcast sponsorship, NFTs, Adsense, boxing and sports drinks. 

Creators supply the distribution and the marketing firepower. Get the proposition right and you’ve got an opportunity to create a flywheel of recurring revenue. For longevity in the space, however, the product has to be good. Increasingly, too, we buy from brands which chime with our worldview, beliefs and values. Scammers don’t fit into this world. Neither does animal cruelty.

Earlier this week Paul’s reputation took another hit with revelations that he had abandoned his pet pig. An animal sanctuary posted a video to TikTok explaining its staff found an injured Paul’s pig, Pearl injured in the middle of a field beside a dead pig.

That doesn’t sit well when you’re attempting to fire-fight a business venture with the word: zoo in its name. 

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A version of this article first appeared on January 11 as a column for the Influencer Marketing Digest - the weekly newsletter I am commissioned to write for Fourth Floor. You can sign up to receive the newsletter here.

Scott Guthrie is a professional adviser within the influencer marketing industry. He is an event speaker, university guest lecturer, media commentator on influencer marketing and active blogger. He works with brands, agencies and platforms to achieve meaningful results from influencer marketing. That tells you something about him but it's not giving you a lot of detail, is it? So, read more here.

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