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When influencer marketing goes wrong

Social influencers, content creators, bloggers, vloggers or digital talentists – whatever you want to refer to them as – these individuals have proven to be invaluable to the marketing industry. However, promoting products through social influencers isn’t always plain sailing, and can leave these big names in the firing line.

Below I’ve summarised a few instances when influencer marketing very wrong. Keep reading to find out some serious marketing faux pas.

Zoella’s 2017 Advent Calendar

Time Date Flat Design Plan 2017 Event Calendar 1820424

Zoe Sugg, better known as ‘Zoella’ by her 8.1 million subscribers, has been a leading YouTuber since she founded her channel in 2009. With a cosmetic range in Superdrug, 3 bestselling books and one of the biggest YouTube followings I’m sure the name Zoella is not unfamiliar to you.

The 27-year-old is popular amongst her fan base for being a positive, enthusiastic, ‘big-sister type’ girl, who shares content around beauty, health and lifestyle. Her relatable personality has created a huge following, which has also as a result, made her a great target for marketers looking to use influencers to sell products and services.

At the start of November, Zoe released a beautifully packaged Christmas advent calendar available to buy from Boots retailing at £50. However, fans were left underwhelmed, after discovering what hid behind the 12 doors. The advent calendar 

merely included a packet of glitter, a pen, a small notebook and a pom-pom (amongst other over-priced items).

Zoe has since been met with a backlash of criticism from frustrated parents and teens who feel like they’ve wasted £50 on a box with a famous name on.

Zoe has been left with no choice but to address the issue over her advent calendar publicly explaining that she doesn’t have control over the retail price. Boots have now reduced by the price by a whopping 50%, leaving the advent calendar at £25.

Still not worth it? Poundland have created a dupe of the calendar for just £13.

Ja Rule’s Fyre Festival

At the beginning of 2017, Ja Rule and his entourage of supermodels, including Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid and Emily Ratajkowski were seen promoting Fyre Festival – a concert 923245luxurious festival held on the island of Exuma in the Bahamas. For $12,000 a ticket, fans were under impression they would be met with A-lister performances, private villas, celebrity chefs and all round first class treatment.

On their arrival to the island, it began to seem that Fyre Festival was not all what it cracked up to be as individuals were met with chaotic scenes. Mud replaced the sandy beaches, disaster relief tents replaced private villas and the cheese sandwiches they received were most definitely not prepared by celebrity chefs. Many took to social media to document the chaos stating they had a lack of food and water, no electricity, nowhere to stay and were unable to get flights home for another 8 hours.

Ja Rule immediately made a public apology stating that the outcome of events was not his fault. This didn’t stop the wave of criticism plastered all over social media as well as an insurmountable number of complaints, refunds demands from attendees and compensation demands from employees.

Attendees were given the option to a full refund or VIP passes to next year’s festival – that’s if the festivals reputation hasn’t been damaged too much!

Kendall Jenner’s Pepsi ad

kendallHigh profile member of Kardashian family, Kendall Jenner, recently appeared in a Pepsi advert which caused immediate global outrage.

The advert shows Jenner joining a protest where the 21-year old hands a can of Pepsi to a police officer. The crowd then erupts into applause and the officer flashes a grin suggesting the tension has been diffused by a can of fizzy drink.

Both Kendall and Pepsi were immediately faced with a backlash of criticism, accusing Kendall and the company for trivialising similar protests going on at the time, such as the Black Lives Matter movement.

Pepsi pulled down the advert just a day after airing and publicly apologised for its insensitivity. There’s no doubt that the brand and Kendall’s reputation have suffered from this poorly thought out advertisement.

Overall, using influencers and high profile public figures for promotions usually proves extremely successful in increasing sales revenue. However, using such high profile public figures is also a huge risk. If the product/service/advertisement is not received well, the mistake is already in the limelight. Careful thought, planning and plenty of research needs to be done before involving an individual with such a huge amount of influence.

 By Lizzie Simkin 

Click here to find out 4 ways why social media is good for market research. 

This entry was posted in Market research, Social media, tagged Social media, Millenials, Advertising and posted on December 18, 2017

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