What YouTuber ZHC Can Teach Us About Advertising

What YouTuber ZHC Can Teach Us About Advertising
Beginners Guide, Benefits of Drawing, Biography of Famous Artists

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When chess was invented, the inventor presented it to the king…

The king fell in love with the game. Give the founder whatever they wish.



The founder requested that a grain of rice be placed on the first square of the chessboard and doubled on each subsequent square. Show briefly – two letters in the second column, four in the third, and so on.

A Chessboard with Letters

The king agreed. He thought he had found a transaction and ordered his treasurer to pay the founder.



After a long time, the founder returned. He complained to the king that he had not been given his reward.

The king called the treasurer.

“Why the creator of this great free chess game !?”

The treasurer explained that this was not possible.

By the time you were half the chessboard, the amount of rice needed was far more significant than anything anyone could or could afford. This gift would crush the royal treasury and put the whole kingdom in debt.

How does this relate to the Community and advertising?

The whole industry tends to measure success in large numbers. We launch campaigns and watch to see how many views, comments, engagements, or impressions we have produced. How do we compare with our competitors?

There is nothing inherently wrong with this approach, but there is an unintended consequence.

We never want to start small. We make the same mistake as the king – we do not believe that starting with too little can lead to more.

How many times have you heard this (or asked) this?

“We want at least a million views!”

If the agency finally gets ten views on a YouTube video while the target was a million, I think we all know what will happen later. The agency will be deemed to have failed to beat its KPIs and may be released.

While contradictory intuitive, small startups are a way to make great results over time.

The formula is an ongoing + effort of consistent refinement.

Using the metaphor of the king and the chessboard is how one grain of rice gradually grew into the value of the whole empire.

A group of scrappy filmmakers, i.e. influencers (explicitly or implicitly), understand this. They have become the juggernauts of one media by using it. One of them is ZHC.

Who is ZHC?

ZHC’s real name is Zachary Hsieh, and he has 21 years of being a YouTuber / artist. It is based in San Jose, California and has collected over 1 billion views and 15 million subscribers.

ZHC produces high-quality TV viewing.

Last month he reached 5x the audience for the usual ‘Monday Night Football’ viewers, the 6X audience for ‘The Masked Singer’ and the largest audience for episodes of ‘The Last Dance’.

Think about that for a moment. Last month she received the most views in all ten episodes of ‘The Last Dance’. (Bio of Zachary Hsieh)

That was ESPN’s most rated documentary of all time. It has been in control of news and social media for a month.

ZHC vs Last Dance

ZHC gets more views per month than ‘The Last Dance.’

How Did ZHC become so big?

His gaze was not something that happened. The success of ZHC is seen in the face of deception. His format, MrBeast, meets Andy Warhol. Pop art with the stunt.

ZHC picks up high-end devices such as iPhones, iPads, Tesla, and even the bus and paints. You give these good (and expensive) things to unknown fans or other promoters. Feedback is always valuable.

There is a formula.

Gifts are expensive. The visibility of influential guests is high. You have unveiled one great YouTube creator PewDiePie. Addison Rae has the second-largest following in TikTok.

He is working with Marshmello and Charli D’Amelio, who has over 100 million followers on TikTok. The reaction it holds creates the effect of halo-elation. (Bio of Zachary Hsieh)

Everything seems so obvious – combine the big stars and give them expensive gifts… However, unless you go into his background catalogue, you won’t see hundreds of his videos that were the basis of today’s “obvious” success.

Like many ‘overnight’ successes, ZHC has been grinding it for years. He posted his first video four years ago. By the end of his first year on YouTube, he had published 50 videos.

Guess how many subscribers you have? 1,011.

Can you imagine working day and night for one year and only having 1k subscribers show up for your efforts?

ZHC did not launch with its fully defined format and community in the area. The process took time: temptation and error. We can learn a lot about the process from his work. The first Zach videos were direct tutorials on how to draw a variety of comic book characters.

In time Zach began to Experiment.

He gradually incorporated his personality into the videos.

After 40 instructional videos, he finally made a video with her as a focus (vs his art). That first video was “3 tips for getting more Instagram followers”.

The video was taken once. He had a problem and ran sometimes. The back was just his living room with Zach sitting on the couch.

That’s all. Watch the video. Can you imagine that unattractive guy would one day have 15 million subscribers?

The experiment continued. You see the emergence of slow motion.

You have included what you have learned in his videos. (Bio of Zachary Hsieh)

Zach’s 50th video was “My Story of Inspiring Artists”. It was his first attempt at inspiring content. He shared his problems with the school and how art became his salvation. It gave him confidence.

His 63rd video was a ‘challenging’ video – RECOGNIZING 1000 ANIMALS A DAY?!. It has produced more views than his regular videos, and he saw the power to combine stunts.

A month later, he made a reaction video. PewDiePie (with over 100 million subscribers) stumbled upon the ZHC art section. Zach recorded a video of the reaction to PewDiePie’s comments.

This was the first time Zach had included another influential person in his video and had received about eight times the views he usually received.

He continued to try and apply the lessons in his repertoire. It took three years before he developed the formula into what it is today. And his views have risen sharply.

This was not the corresponding growth of the line – always at the top and right. This was the growth Buffett displayed in the image of the king and the chessboard.

It is small at first, then large.

Exponential vs Line Growth

ZHC’s efforts were consolidated.

It went from ten thousand views per month in 2017 to 100,000 in 2018, to 5 million in 2019. ZHC has now an estimated 100 million views per month. (Bio of Zachary Hsieh)

So How Does this Apply to Advertising?

Since the ad industry doubts influencers, there is much you can learn from them.

While we want to create the right ad that goes into the pop-culture dictionary, the sad truth is the world does not expect our entirely produced vision. We must begin by building and applying what we learn to improve.

Rumi, a 13th-century poet, said it was better “as you begin to walk on the road, the road comes out.”

That is a long-term solution—regular adjustment and feedback.

ZHC used this process. He always makes videos.

He would use small tests and apply the lessons he learned. He gradually reduced the win-win more than the win.


Telling stories. Interaction. Challenges. Surprise and joy. ZHC has worked to identify how it works.

The formula is an ongoing + effort of consistent refinement.

Plenty of lead leads to Quality.

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