Chris Voss MasterClass: YouTube Ad Strategy

            Chris Voss, a distinguished hostage negotiator for the FBI, taught a class on the online learning platform called MasterClass.  His class provided training in negotiation tactics for people in all walks of life (Lauren, 2021).  MasterClass published an advertisement on YouTube called Chris Voss Teaches the Art of Negotiation, in which he discusses his experience, the value of negotiation, and the skills taught in the class (MasterClass, 2020).  Using social media for the ad, MasterClass chose a platform with potential for viral marketing and a lot of sharing and resharing.


            There are a lot of emotional appeals in the ad, like “Everybody really deserves to have somebody hear what they have to say” and “Your life could be in a completely different place just by improving how you negotiate” (MasterClass, 2020).  The music of the ad was dramatic, the film clips included dramatic scenes and recordings from hostage situations.  There were no rational appeals besides the vague statistic “You’re probably in 3 to 7 negotiations every single day” (MasterClass, 2020).  Rational appeals usually include facts and figures, statistics, or general data that will appeal to the audience (Newbold, 2017).

            The interesting thing about the emotional appeal is that the ad did such a good job on focusing on the benefits of the skills that are taught in the class and giving the history and backstory of Chris Voss, that it comes off as a rational ad.  In order to add rational appeal, the ad does run through the features of the class:  learning bargaining, reading body language, neuroscience, mirroring, labeling, and asking questions (MasterClass, 2020).


            The audience for MasterClass is highly educated, upper-middle class young adults who want to learn new skills from celebrities and experts (Chang, 2020).  Many of them are already professionals who want to be better at their jobs (Loizos, 2018).  The Chris Voss MasterClass ad is no exception.  It is aimed toward businesspeople and professionals wanting to learn to negotiate to improve their lives and professional experiences.  In the ad, Chris looks casual, although he is wearing a suit.  He talks about even negotiating at Starbucks (MasterClass, 2020).  He is appealing to an upper middle class American demographic.

Going Viral

            The Chris Voss MasterClass ad has over 22 million views, over 100 comments, and almost 2000 likes.  The idea of viral marketing hinges around a social post or advertisement being shared and reshared.  In viral marketing, these posts are shared around very quickly.  Viral marketing has the advantage of being low cost, having a wider reach, and being less invasive than sponsored ads.  It can give a significant boost to a brand as well (Viral Marketing:  What It Is, How It Works, and How It Can Benefit Your Brand, 2021).  If people do not share the ad, it cannot go viral.  It must be passed quickly from person to person through sharing on social platforms.  Chris Voss’ MasterClass ad on YouTube has over 22 million views, so it was definitely shared a lot.  It is low on engagement from viewers, with a low number of likes and comments (MasterClass, 2020).

YouTube as a B2B Platform and a B2C Platform

            YouTube is primarily a consumer-focused platform, focusing on individual users rather than organizations, so it is ideal for B2C advertising.  Since those consumers work at companies, lead organizations, and influence purchasing, it is useful as a B2B platform as well.  One of the downsides of YouTube as an advertising platform is that competing paid ads may run during a post.  82% of B2C businesses use YouTube in their marketing campaigns, and 74% of B2B companies use YouTube in their marketing campaigns (Bullas, 2018).

Effect of Employee Sharing

            Employees are powerful in sharing an ad or post.  When employees advocate for a product or brand, leads developed from that sharing are seven times more likely to convert than other leads.  In addition, leads that are shared by employees are reshared, liked, and commented with eight times more engagement than ads shared by the company itself (10 Stats That Prove the Impact of Employee Advocacy, 2019).  This is because employees give the message a human touch.  Employees are more personable and trusted than the brands themselves.

Customer Testimonials

            Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are ideal for customer testimonials.  Consumers engage with the brands directly and also share and discuss with their friends in a way that is easily captured for feedback.  YouTube testimonials come in the form of comments.  In this MasterClass ad, Chris Voss had several testimonials in the comments section.  One person said “I love this class so much, thanks for making him having this sit down teaching and sharing his experience-based knowledge!” and another said “This was an excellent class. Was engaged throughout” (MasterClass, 2020).  Consumers read these comments and testimonials when making purchasing decisions.  The testimonials for this class are all very positive.  Facebook and Twitter are both platforms where comments are posted and shared very quickly between consumers, and they are heavily used, so they are ideal for feedback.


            MasterClass used YouTube as one of their ad channels when advertising the negotiations class taught by Chris Voss.  The ad listed the topics taught in the class, but was mainly an emotional appeal.  It was shared widely, with 22 million views, and has a lot of positive comments.  Social marketing and viral marketing relies on people to share and comment on ads and posts.  Like with MasterClass, social marketing can be impactful to the brand without a huge investment in advertising.

by Art Ocain


10 Stats That Prove the Impact of Employee Advocacy. (2019, May 31).

Bullas, A. (2018, July 11). YouTube Business Case – B2B and B2C Social Media Marketing at its Most Visual.

Chang, D. (2020, April 4). Masterclass Product Analysis.

Lauren, D. (2021, September 7). I learned how to negotiate a higher salary from former FBI hostage negotiator Chris Voss, who emphasizes collaboration and active listening.

Loizos, C. (2018, October 3). MasterClass, the education platform featuring all-star instructors, will soon teach you how to run for office, too.

MasterClass. (2020, October 5). Chris Voss Teaches the Art of Negotiation | Official Trailer | MasterClass [YouTube].

Newbold, C. (2017, October 3). Rational Appeal (Advertising).

Viral Marketing:  What It Is, How It Works, and How It Can Benefit Your Brand. (2021, August).

Published by Art Ocain

I am a DevOps advocate, not because I am a developer (I’m not), but because of the cultural shift it represents and the agility it gains. I am also a fan of the theory of constraints and applying constraint management to all areas of business: sales, finance, planning, billing, and all areas of operations. My speaking: I have done a lot of public speaking in my various roles over the years, including presentations at SBDC (Small Business Development Center) and Central PA Chamber of Commerce events as well as events that I have organized at MePush. My writing: I write a lot. Blog articles on the MePush site, press-releases for upcoming events to media contracts, posts on LinkedIn (, presentations on Slideshare (, posts on the Microsoft Tech Community, articles on Medium (, and posts on Quora ( I am always looking for new places to write, as well. My certifications: ISACA Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), Certified Web Application Security Professional (CWASP), Certified Data Privacy Practitioner (CDPP), Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA), VMware Certified Professional (VCP-DCV), Microsoft Certified System Engineer (MCSE), Veeam Certified Engineer (VMCE), Microsoft 365 Security Administrator, Microsoft 365 Enterprise Administrator, Azure Administrator, Azure Security Administrator, Azure Architect, CompTIA Network+, CompTIA Security+, ITIL v4 Foundations, Certified ScrumMaster, Certified Scrum Product Owner, AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner See certification badges on Acclaim here: My experience: I have a lot of experience from developing a great company with great people and culture to spinning up an impressive DevOps practice and designing impressive solutions. I have been a project manager, a President, a COO, a CTO, and an incident response coordinator. From architecting cloud solutions down to the nitty-gritty of replacing hardware, I have done it all. When it comes to technical leadership, I am the go-to for many companies. I have grown businesses and built brands. I have been a coach and a mentor, developing the skills and careers of those in my company. I have formed and managed teams, and developed strong leaders and replaced myself within the company time and again as I evolved. See my experience on LinkedIn here:

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