Josh Ostrovsky has learned his lesson.
The Instagram sensation known as the Fat Jew has been widely criticized for posting other people's content on the mobile photo app without attribution, but on Monday, Ostrovsky had credited all his unattributed posts. "I will never again post something that doesn't have attribution," Ostrovsky recently told New York magazine.
Fat Jew has more than six million Instagram followers, but he's quick to point out that collecting LOLs isn't his full-time job. He recently signed with talent agency CAA for representation in all areas--from acting to writing for film and TV--and he hosts a radio show on Apple Music's Beats 1 station. Ostrovsky has also collaborated with Burger King, Craftsman Tools, and Virgin Mobile on advertising campaigns, and he recently launched his own brand of rosé. His book Money Pizza Respect, published by Hachette Book Group's Grand Central Publishing, comes out next month.
These ventures employ a team that includes his writing partner, interns, and managers. Here are highlights from Inc.'s recent conversation with the controversial commentator.
On adding attribution to his Instagram posts.
It's been tough because the internet is so vast. A lot of people have reached out. We urged people to email because some of it is un-findable. I've actually really connected with some great people who said, "Hey, that was my photo." I may even end up working with some of them. I've met some really bizarre, awesome people, so that's been really fun.
On creating advertising campaigns for brands.
A lot of influencers and people who have large social media followings are just willing to do the bare minimum [for advertisers], which is totally fine. If you want to do a campaign with Bud Light and hold a Bud Light bottle, you could do that and that could fulfill your contractual obligations. But for us, we like to go above and beyond and start conversations. It's about making a piece of content not disposable, so it doesn't get forgotten about 10 seconds later, and making people say, "You've got to look at this. This is ridiculous." Developing a reputation for being able to create those types of campaigns has made brands more willing to hand over the creative reins.
On how brands are courting Millennials.
They've really come a long way, and I think that's because some brands are probably getting younger. Younger people are coming up and embracing crazier ideas, and that's just the way the market is going. They've done it because they probably have people internally who are embracing it and because it's just a necessary thing that they have to do. I'm always surprised at which brands are willing to really take risks. I'll have a large brand come in, and they don't want to do anything. But then Craftsman--which seems like a much more middle America, guys-with-power-tools brand--they'll come in, and I'll say, "I want to build a giant custom bowl and fill it with chili," and they'll say, "That sounds awesome."
On marketing to Millennials.
They've seen everything. They're over stuff before it even comes out. They're over the new Drake album before it's even recorded. To really speak to them and make stuff that is going to resonate with them, that they're going to think is cool, requires someone who knows what they're doing.
I've always been really interested in corporate social media when they decide to go fully in-house and let a 41-year-old guy named Jeff run the Twitter account, basically trying to mimic the voice of a "turnt up" 17-year-old. More times than not it comes off as wildly disingenuous. If you're going to market to Millennials, hire some fucking Millennials. Honestly, kids are smart. Kids today lack general basic skills once considered to be tenets of what was necessary to be a functioning human being, but if there's one thing they do know, it's how to spot when someone's targeting them. I have met 13-year-old Korean fashion bloggers who are so keen in branding and marketing, it's really weird. So whatever the legal age is in your state, hire every kid you can the minute they become legal to work.
On why he started the White Girl Rosé wine brand.
There was an article last summer in the New York Post called "Rosé Running Dangerously Low in the Hamptons," and we were like, not on our watch. We knew one guy who owned a vineyard, and we used the resources we had and started it and we were just going to do a small run in the Hamptons. It was just supposed to be fun for Instagram and just really ridiculous. It started with that and people just really got into it and it has turned into something awesome.