Influencer culture is one of the most frustrating advertising trends that the Internet has kindly gifted us. Before 2017, we didn’t even necessarily know when a post was sponsored, because there weren’t any guidelines enforcing transparency.
Doesn’t it suck when you log in to Insta, and the first thing you see on your explore page is someone who makes serious dollars from snapping pics of beauty products, while you grind away at the office?
As annoying as it is, it’s a lucrative marketing strategy – both for brands and for influencers. Influencer marketing agency The Exposure Co. report that 74% of the people they surveyed either liked or weren’t bothered by sponsored posts, and more than half said they were following influencers – even more of them probably were and didn’t realise it.
Influencers are usually either provided with free goodies from the brand, or are paid per post. Sometimes, that relationship goes cold. The nice thing about it is that we all get a dose of schadenfreude when it does, so here’s a homage to the worst of the worst.
The Case of Chloe Roberts and the Melbourne Cafe
In May 2019, influencer Chloe Roberts got dragged to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal because a cafe owner felt that she had ripped him off. He was paying her $200 per post, but because she was ‘archiving’ her food pics, he claimed that he was paying her “for nothing”. Thing is, she never said that she was going to promote the posts beyond what turned up in her followers’ feed. In the end, the owner was the one who had to pay up, because Chloe’s follower count had grown in the time that she was posting. Yikes. Get that in writing next time my dude.
The Case of the Revolve Dress
Sometimes these sponsorship deals just end up in a fashion flop. That’s what happened when 10 different influences were sent a white dress from
Majorelle Collection – and then they all wore it to the same Opera House party. Though maybe that was just part of the gimmick.
The Case of the Begging Contestants
There are plenty of restaurants who are fed up with supposed influencers asking them to spot them a free meal – do it for the ‘gram, small businesses! One of the most cringe-worthy call outs comes courtesy of Adelaide chef Duncan Welgemoed, who put MKR contestant Andy Vignati on blast for an email saying she’d “love to come try some food”. The upshot is that #payforfood really took off that night. C’mon Andy, don’t you know that people die of exposure?
The Case of Karylle Banez and the Bralette Bullying
Fine dining seems to be a common theme in influencer controversy. This time, it was blogger Karylle Banez who bore the wrath, along with the restaurant that posted the pic. Folks on Facebook absolutely unleashed, saying her outfit was ‘inappropriate’, but at least her brand backed her up, reminding everyone that she’s a “a real person, with real feelings”.
The Case of the Nano-Influencers
I’m really sorry to tell you this, but this one will definitely make your blood boil. Did you know that, apparently, you don’t need 70,000-odd followers to make it in the influencer game? There’s now a new trend targeting ‘nano-influencers’, where brands are paying for posts from users with as few as a thousand followers, and occasionally less. Yes, that does mean that there are people getting paid for having the same number of followers as you do. Again, sorry.