Dear reader, it probably won’t surprise you to know that I am not a person who spends time on Instagram. I do have a profile there, but I never really ‘got it’ as a platform, and so I deleted the app from my phone many moons ago.
As such, the whole Instagram influencer thing just sort of passed me by.
Of course, I am aware that these influencers exist. But they tend to operate in spaces where I have little to no interest, and, as a 41 year-old woman, I’m frankly just not in the market to be influenced. The whole thing all seemed pretty shallow and silly to me.
That said, working in this industry (what should we call this industry now – online marketing? Just marketing? Anything but digital, please), I found myself weirdly fascinated by the influencer marketplace and eagerly awaiting the point that this particular bubble would burst.
I’ve gone so far as to predict the demise of influencer marketing countless times. As you’re doubtlessly aware, to date, I’ve been proved wrong on this point over and over again.
In June of this year, Atlantic writer, Taylor Lorenz revealed that an Instagram influencer’s ‘surprise engagement’ had apparently been pitched to brands as a sponsorship opportunity.
This summer, Marissa of @FashionAmbitionist will be pulled into a surprise adventure created by the center of her life, Gabriel…
We’re pleased to offer your brand the opportunity to align with this momentous occasion and the beautiful cities she will be visiting along the way.Copy pulled from the pitch deck
The pitch deck is below:
You’re willing to ‘sell’ your engagement. Ugh, I thought.
Of course, none of this is really new. Celebrities have long since sold their weddings, christenings and other major life landmarks to glossy magazines in exchange for cash.
This is the same thing.
Nevertheless I wondered, would the tide begin to turn? Would how people feel about influencers begin to change?
Maybe, maybe not.
Early this month, I was heartened to read about LA ice cream truck owner, Joe Nicchi charging influencers double:
As a result, Nicchi says business is booming, and that he’s attracting fans across southern California who share his disdain of influencers.
Yesterday I came across a series of tweets by Taylor Lorenz (the author of the Atlantic article I mentioned earlier in this post), highlighting an advertising campaign by Diesel which appears to be playing on influencer hate:
As Lorenz notes:
This whole campaign is banking on influencer hate as a counter-culture, and basically adbusting influencer culture in a series of… ads.Taylor Lorenz, on Twitter
In the thread Kelly Peeler makes an excellent point:
I wondered the same.
“Don’t be influenced” (or similar) seems to me to be a much stronger line than “be a follower”.
Lorenz offered up the following:
The “influencer aesthetic” [is] being now seen as “trying too hard”…
It just doesn’t resonate anymore and we are just in the early stages of this next wave (which is just as commercial) but built on perceived “authenticity” and “living in the moment.”
Which is how you end up with those insane Diesel ads…Taylor Lorenz, on Twitter
Diesel’s campaign is incongruent. But incongruence aside, like Lorenz I suspect that, unhappily, this influencer thing isn’t over just yet.
It’s cool though, I’ll wait it out on the sidelines with the likes of Joe Nicchi.