uncle tito

Micro-Celebrities: Who is Uncle Tito?

Case Study

My older sons (13 and 15) have been following people on Instagram for a couple of years now. One of the first guys they glommed onto in a celebrity kind of way was someone who referred to himself as Uncle Tito. This is a surf industry guy, about 32 years old, who’s hyper focused on the local scene here in Newport Beach. He frequents the same coffee shop, bashes on Starbucks, visits lifeguards, berates road bicyclists he’s dubbed “butt darts,” eats at local banzai bowl shops, and drops in on local surf industry offices in Huntington Beach, Costa Mesa, Newport Beach and elsewhere.

He has a 19K following of mostly young kids (TARGETED market!) and is very engaging with his posts. Almost everything is in video snippet or “story” form. He was one of the first people I saw who truly understood and exploited the story feature on Instagram.

Here’s his profile:


Looks like he was at Mammoth Mountain recently for some skiing. It wouldn’t surprise me if he got some $$ to head up there and cover the slopes.

In any event, you can see how micro-targeted brands can reach very distinct audiences with all the kinds of fun and games they like watching, eating and doing (think surf, ski, coffee, gourmet eats). There are thousands of these influencers in every imaginable nook and cranny of the country, and some of them are making money via advertising (either native ads or in-your-face traditional promotions).

The lines between mediums continue to blur, and the traditional/conventional channels continue to eat the dust of the new social platforms. That last bit should have a little more qualification. Certainly, the big ad agencies, celebrities and brands are leveraging social media. However, these little micro-markets are fascinating, and the profits often go directly to the micro-celebrities.




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