I pointed out to my nine-year-old that vlogging is not a career. He corrected me. “But Mum, people make a fortune just by talking about a product on their show.” Right. So, my nine -year-old gets it. Most “influencers” aren’t influencing at all, they are simply promoting and getting paid huge sums to do it. Even my nine-year-old isn't falling for the, ‘Oh if he thinks it’s great then I'll buy it too" trick anymore. So, if it is so very obvious, even to my nine-year-old, that the whole influencer Marketing game is just paid for promotion, how long will it take before we start calling influencer Marketing what it really is … advertising.
Now, I am not anti influencer Marketing at all. I just don’t think influence, real influence, can be bought. I think consumers can spot a paid placement a mile off. But if your Marketing objective is to gain awareness and an influencer has reach, then paying a few euros to get them to endorse your product, in some not so subtle way, might just do the trick. But then, I think, if you paid the few euros, it’s not really influencer Marketing any more, its advertising.
The boundary between recommendation and advertising is blurring. But I think in the not so distant future most consumers will be able to spot what is fake and what is real and the influencer Marketing trend will pass. Until then, my nine-year-old will continue to vlog and dream of big brand success. So, if any brand wants a drum playing, football loving, Dr Who fan to endorse their products, then please get in touch.
Full disclosure: I paid my son one euro to wear that Big M cap.