You’re a fake Wizard Harry!

 

The start of the yearly migration of Ad Exec’s to Cannes has begun and it’s interesting to see that top of Keith Weed’s agenda is a call to improve the integrity, transparency and measurement of influencer marketing.
 

As of today, Unilever has declared:

 

  • Unilever won’t work with influencers who buy followers
  • Unilever has promised its own brands will never buy followers
  • The business will prioritise partners who increase their transparency and work to eradicate nefarious practices throughout the digital ecosystem

 

This has been a long time coming… it’s been the wild west of regulation.

 

I’ve seen numerous campaigns for clients where a specialist influencer network has been expertly deployed and our video content has gone wild. Bear Grylls wild.

It’s exciting, hard work has finally paid off. The view numbers are going up! The clients excited! We’re excited! It’s more bloody exciting than finding a pineapple farm. We’re sending through the hourly updates!

…Aaaand then you crash back to the island in your shoddy raft of sticks, only to realise your number one influencer is a Canadian Harry Potter meme account, run by a 12-year-old. Disappointment sets in. We got 2 million views and only 22 signups, but hey, doesn’t everyone love to have a nice big number to pop on a slide to show the boss.

We (both in a literal and royal sense) are so much better than this.

Increasingly, what we’re also seeing is very questionable adherence/avoidance of ASA rules. A good example of this is with the World Cup now in full flow I have lost track of the number of ‘influencers’ who are incorporating very questionable odds-based promos into their stories with no deceleration of it being an affiliate or paid deal.

What’s even worse than this is the rise of utterly irresponsible influencer marketing. I’m going to look no further than Kim Kardashian, who recently promoted an “appetite suppressant lollipop” to her 112 million followers.

 

 

And Charlotte Crosby, who in recent weeks promoted a machine that will supposedly give you abs…

 

 

Both of these have huge and impressionable audiences and the fact that they are promoting such appalling crap should really be called out and properly questioned.

To the untrained eye, and let’s face it that’s what matters here it’s becoming increasingly difficult for the public to know what is a genuine endorsement versus paid for activity and its time that the industry as a whole took a long hard look at themselves.

There is absolutely room in the marketing mix for thought through measured influencer activity but for too long influencer marketing tactics have relied on deception and I’m delighted to see Keith Weed and Unilever taking a stand and I hope others follow before all credibility is lost.