Canon names internet star Emma Chamberlain as its new brand ambassador
Content creator who rose to fame filming herself on Canon cameras calls partnership with the brand a ‘full circle moment’ in her career.
Late last week, camera giant Canon USA unveiled a social media campaign with 21-year-old content creator and entrepreneur Emma Chamberlain at its center.
Led by creative agency Pixel, the multichannel campaign explores Chamberlain’s evolution as an influencer, from taking her dad’s Canon EOS Rebel T2i camera with her on excursions to buy iced coffee, to interviewing A-list celebrities on the red carpet at the Met Gala for her 35m collective social media followers. At every step of the way, a Canon camera assisted her.
“This is definitely a huge full circle moment, which is my favorite type of collaboration ... Going from being a truly organic customer in every sense of the term ... and learning about it as a consumer is so impactful,” Chamberlain told The Drum in an in-person interview on Thursday. “It really just allows a partnership that’s so incredibly genuine ... With Canon, this was a tool in my toolkit that got me to where I am.”
The campaign, which comprises a hero video, social media cuts and still photography, rolled out across Meta, YouTube, TikTok, Snapchat, Pinterest and Canon’s owned channels. It also spotlights various Canon cameras, like the Canon EOS R50 camera, which is part of a newly released Content Creator Kit.
Canon says this particular campaign is meant to encourage other young people to pursue careers as content creators, whether they’re a skilled camera user or a novice with professional camera gear. Chamberlain herself was inexperienced using cameras when she first started. “[This tiny camera] was approachable as a young kid who didn’t go to film school, didn’t know how to use fancy cameras [and] wasn’t super good at using things without auto-focus,“ she said. “It was really user-friendly and enabled me to up my quality while still understanding how to use it. It elevated my content in a lot of ways that helped me get to where I am.“
The influencer-brand relationship
In the years following, Chamberlain has become a phenomenon and brand in her own right. In 2020, her podcast, Anything Goes, earned her the “Best Podcaster” award at the 12th annual Shorty Awards. That same year, her love of iced coffee led her to start her own coffee brand, Chamberlain Coffee.
In addition to Canon, Chamberlain has worked with several name brands, from Levi’s to Vogue Australia. As social media audiences demand more authenticity and transparency from creators, she says each deal requires a lot of internal deliberation. “It comes down to meeting with the team and understanding their ethos behind the scenes,“ she said. “There’s a lot of value in vetting that. Obviously, a lot of these brands are massive and have hundreds of people working for them ... Meeting the people and feeling their energy out is huge.“
As expected, Chamberlain gets innumerable offers from brands. But when it comes to the offers that compel her the most, they typically encourage collaboration and allow her creative freedom. “Moving forward, something I’m excited about is being more involved in the creative process in shoots and the way campaigns are created ... Because I know what’s ‘me’ for people who follow me, and brands know what’s exciting to their audience.“
In the case of Canon, Chamberlain said it felt like a natural fit because she was a longtime consumer of the brand. Although Canon is a brand that specializes in professional equipment, she considers herself living proof that anyone can pick up a camera and have a chance at stardom. “The truth is, everyone has something unique to bring to the table. I remember when I first started, I thought, ‘Is anyone going to even care about what I have to say?’“ she said. “But what I learned over time is every single person has a unique point of view ... It takes practice to learn to talk to the camera like it’s not a camera… but once you get through it, the sky is the limit.“