Case Study: 23andMe Helps Influencers Discover Their Heritage

Case Study: 23andMe Helps Influencers Discover Their Heritage

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Influencer Marketing Case Study: 23andMe Helps Influencers Discover Their Heritage

23andMe got off to a rocky start several years ago when the FDA banned the sale of their genetic health testing kits. In 2017, the company got back on track with the FDA, and tested a variety of creative partnerships in order to raise awareness about genetic testing.

The company not only convinced major retailers like CVS and Target to carry their product on the shelf, they also pioneered an animated short with Universal Pictures in which super-villain Gru discovers his long-lost brother using 23andMe.



Based on their open-mindedness when it comes to marketing, it’s no surprise that 23andMe likes to diversify their approach to partnerships, working with large brands like Lexus and more niche micro-influencers. The theme that runs through all of their campaigns, however, is a very personal story of self-discovery.

Related Post: YouTuber Alonzo Lerone Partners With Brands Like 23andMe And Tums

23andMe Leverages Influencers To Connect To Larger Audience


  • Connect to an expansive and diverse audience to showcase how genetic testing can change your perspective on your personal identity.
  • Establish brand awareness of 23&Me and inspire people to seek more information about their family history, heritage, health, and more.


  • Channels - YouTube and Instagram
  • Influencers - Diverse micro-influencers and macro-influencers across various niches

Many of the sponsored influencers follow a similar narrative pattern in their content:

  • They don’t know much about their ancestry, except what they’ve heard from family
  • They receive an ancestry kit from 23andMe
  • Using personal storytelling, they share surprising origins they never knew about

This approach appears to be a very effective and personalized approach to marketing 23andMe’s genetic testing kit. It helps fans feel more connected to the influencers and learn more about them, while simultaneously raising awareness of (and interest in) the product.


A few examples:

Brand Partnerships

23andMe also partnered with more established brands across a wide variety of industries, including:

  • BuzzFeed Video - Asian-American co-workers take a DNA test and discuss their individual results.
  • Lexus Vehicles Commercial - In this April Fools partnership, Lexus releases a fake commercial about cars that are customized to your genes.
  • CVS / Waterthruskin Instagram Post - This dual influencer/brand partnership featured travel influencer Valerie H. (Waterthruskin) gushing about her excitement to receive her results from 23andMe, which she bought directly from CVS.

Related Post: 3 Best Influencer Brand Sponsorships Featuring Top Instagrammers


  • Social Reach
    • YouTube Views: 8,610,459
    • Followers targeted: 39,552,276
  • Engagement
    • Instagram and YouTube Likes: 250,560
    • Instagram and YouTube Comments: 18,502
    • #23andme Total Hashtag usage: 52,243

23andMe Inspires The Blonde Abroad To Visit Paris

In a sponsored 23andMe post, Kiki, also known as The Blonde Abroad, talked about how the discovery of her French heritage inspired her to visit Paris. With over 540,000 followers seeking inspiration, Kiki’s long-form photo caption generated over 14,000 likes and a lot of enthusiasm. One fan even commented, “My friend works for this company, I need to do it to see where I’m from!”


Nikki & Gabi Explore Their Roots With Three Generations Of Women

Nikki and Gabi, twin sisters known on YouTube for their musical duets and beauty tutorials, sat down with their mother and grandmother to discuss their 23andMe results. The video was framed as “Why We Look Like This,” providing a direct response to fan questions about their ethnic background — and this angle paid off. They received 1.8 million views and over 5,000 comments from viewers discussing the results and commenting about how it related to their own heritage.

Lexus Fools Around With The Idea Of “Genetic Select” Cars

Although Lexus represents a more traditional brand partner, this commercial made in partnership with 23andMe was a surprisingly playful departure for Lexus. The fake April Fools Day commercial advertised a service called Genetic Select, billed as “the world’s first service that uses human genetics to match you with the car of your genes.” The tongue-and-cheek advertisement pulled over 1.8 million views, making it the 6th most popular Lexus video of all time.

Related Post: How Top Auto Brands Work With Influencers


Instagram influencers provide awareness of genetic testing through the power of storytelling, tying their results to a narrative of personal discovery and identity. YouTube influencers resonate well when fans can watch their live reaction to their genetic results, and it ties to fans’ current interest in the influencers. Partnering with more established brands like Lexus legitimizes the company, while still bringing an edgy and playful air to the 23andMe brand. Overall, 23andMe’s approach to influencer partnerships provided personal ways to tell the stories behind genetic testing, reaching audiences across all nationalities and ages, and building the case for people to discover their own genetic history.

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August 24, 2018 By Mediakix Team