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Industry Trends

May 18, 2022

7

min read

Elad Schulman

Brands that successfully capitalized on Mukbangs

Warning! This article may cause your stomach to grumble in hunger. Okay, now let’s cut to the cheese - if you’re an avid food lover, you probably already know what a mukbang is. If not, let me be the one to introduce you to the widely popular niche that’s exploded on YouTube. Mukbang is the Korean term for ‘eating show’, in which the host consumes various quantities of food while interacting with the audience. It started out in South Korea around 2010 and quickly became a popular trend. Today, mukbang videos on YouTube are receiving hundreds of thousands of views, featuring all kinds of food from all over the world! 

A lot of viewers like to watch the mukbang videos alongside their own meals, so they feel like they have company. I think the secret to the success of mukbang videos is that viewers feel at home with the creator from the first few seconds of the video. Watching somebody eat can be pretty intimate (there’s a reason why first dates at restaurants are so awkward!), so viewers definitely feel very comfortable with their favorite mukbang-ers. There are also a handful of individuals that find eating sounds comforting (don’t look at me). 

Top mukbang creators 

Jane ASMR is the biggest mukbang creator right now. She doesn’t speak in any of her videos or shows the top portion of her face, but her following has grown to over 16.5 million subscribers! Most of the content she creates revolves around candies and snacks, so if you have a sweet tooth, you’ll probably have a lot in common with Jane ASMR. Her most popular video is her rainbow crepe cake video, which currently sits at 285 million views. 

Another popular creator that manages to add the concept of ASMR into his videos is Zach Choi ASMR. Zach features all kinds of food on his channel - from lasagna to ramen, and even cheese sticks! Zach is often joined by other popular mukbang creators, like Trisha Paytas and Nikocado Avocado. There’s no talking involved, though, only eating. 

Really, you can be doing anything in a mukbang video, as long as you’re doing it while eating. For example, Stephanie Soo (a creator that also frequently shows up on Zach’s channel), shares a true crime story in each video that she uploads. This is just one example of how mukbang creators are able to combine multiple popular niches on the platform to create something unique that will make them stand out. I guess there really is no ‘right time’ to listen to true crime.  

Brands that sponsor mukbang creators

Although very little talking takes place in mukbang-based videos, many brands have found ways to integrate with this type of content. Unsurprisingly, a number of food-based brands have partnered with mukbang-ers. But, also brands that are entirely unrelated to eating/food have partnered with these influencers - proving that the skies the limit.  

HelloFresh

This is a brand/influencer pairing that definitely makes a lot of sense. HelloFresh is a food subscription service that sends you the right amount of ingredients and the easiest recipe to follow right to your door. With a mukbang video focused solely on HelloFresh recipes, the viewers are able to see how the recipes turn out, and if the meals are actually yummy (let’s face it, it’s almost impossible to hide what you think about your food when there’s a camera on you). One mukbang creator that HelloFresh has sponsored is The ASMR Bro, who manages to eat all three meals that were sent to him…in one sitting. I would call that sponsorship a success! 

Function of Beauty

Function Of Beauty is a haircare brand that strives to match the customer with its perfect product. With the use of quizzes that you’re asked to fill out, the customer receives custom hair care products that are carefully designed and curated for each individual hair type. The brand collaborates with different kinds of influencers, including mukbang creators on YouTube.  

Daizz recently collaborated with Function of Beauty in a video featuring a mukbang in South Korea, and even showed her viewers just how easy and user-friendly the Function of Beauty website is.

Chatbooks

Chatbooks is the perfect platform for you to design a photobook with your favorite photos that you have have saved on your phone. Chatbooks has worked with the mukbang-er Kathy, from kathy eats, a handful of times. What makes this partnership work well is that Kathy shows her viewers an example of one of the Chatbooks she ordered, featuring photos of her and her family. The audience is able to see the high quality of the product, while feeling like Kathy is sharing a part of her life with them, even before the food is ready to eat and the mukbang has started. 

Best Fiends

Best Fiends is a free match-3-puzzle game that also features in-app purchases. The app was first released in 2014 and has been working with content creators from YouTube since its release. Seriously, the developer of the app saw the potential in influencer marketing before a lot of other brands! In the mukbang world, Best Fiends has often collaborated with Stephanie Soo, who regularly receives hundreds of thousands of views on her videos, and has over 2.6 million followers. 

Athletic Greens

Athletic Greens is a powder food supplements product that claims to be comprehensively packed with organic “superfoods”, producing health benefits Their jumpstart into the industry was actually through sponsorship relationships with health influencers and experts, health and wellness brands and brand ambassadors from all different kinds of social platforms. YouTube’s resident vegan mukbang-er, MommyTang, has also partnered up with them, and shares with the viewers how she gifts the Athletic Greens products to all of her family and friends.

Helix Sleep

Helix Sleep aims to match you with the mattress that’s just right for you. After filling out a quiz detailing physical characteristics and your sleep habits and preferences, you’ll get recommended the perfect mattress for you and your sleep needs. I guess after watching your favorite creators eat all that food, you’re going to need to take a good, long nap. YB Chang (you might recognize her from her days at Buzzfeed) was recently sponsored by Helix Sleep in her mukbang video of trying Korean pizza. 

Why your brand should partner with a mukbang creator

Still not sure about partnering with a mukbang creator? Here are the key reasons why a mukbang partnership might be the key to your success:

  1. Eating is intimate - viewers are already comfortable with these creators, which increases the chance that they will trust a brand promoted in their videos
  2. ASMR - people enjoy the sound, so they are for sure listening to anything that is presented in the content (including brand promotions!) - because their ears are extra engaged, there is an increased chance of information retention. 
  3. Number of views - whether you understand this niche or not, you can't argue that this type of content gets a lot of exposure - increasing the amount of possible exposure your brand can receive. 

Mukbangs are a prime example of how a creator can take a trend and make it their own. Are you a fan of spicy food? Italian? Starbucks drinks? Do you want to talk about true crime, or you don’t want to talk at all? Anything and everything is accepted in this niche! I, for one, am excited to see how this niche expands and branches out in the next few years. 

If you are a brand searching for mukbang creators and what to know how much a channel is worth, or if you’re a mukbang creator interested in branching out your sponsorships, check out our YouTube sponsorship calculator and make sure to reach out to us with any questions!

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