Since the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) stated that influencers must make it clear if they have either received payment to promote a brand’s product #AD, or when it’s gifted, (when brands send products with no obligation to post e.g. a new product launch #gift),
Influencers have been attacked and some have had their integrity questioned because some followers felt they were duped. All the ‘I love (said product) I have been using it for weeks’ when it was the influencer’s first time mentioning the said item. It wasn’t obvious to many they had been paid to post and talk about the product/service on their social media channels.
So without question, I agree with the ASA and these guidelines for clarity purposes.
Now I want to make it clear when it comes to those slimming teas (when the influencer has always been a size 0), and plastic surgery Instagram AD’s do need to be clamped down on. For the purpose of this post I am not talking about these services and products.
But I want to discuss when an influencer decides to work with a brand, something that fits with their lifestyle and when that AD is posted. A tirade of negative comments are made when this product is an everyday item. Now the said influencer is expected to give a breakdown of the brands decisions for the last 10 years.
So I am going to use the example of an influencer that posted an AD for Apitmal follow on milk. The comments section blew up with the anti-formula brigade. Now my stance is fed is best, the majority of us know the benefits of breastfeeding. But there are too many reasons to list in this post of why a woman decides to use formula. Yes, women need more support to breastfeed some have no but in my I expressed breast milk exclusively for 5 months but my milk supply could not keep up with the growth of 2 babies. I then mix fed for another 2 months but after that it became too much. I never felt shame for the formula I was giving my babies and no one ever said anything to me in real life.
So the tirade in the comment section for this AD were shocking to say the least. Now we all have an opinion but do you take the same energy from the comment section to the brand? Or to the outlets that sell them? Or contact your local MP to see what the government can do to change the rules around advertising for follow on milk. If the answer is no, why is an influencer’s comment section fair game?
Maybe it’s the sense of ownership, the reason you are getting these ads is because I follow you so the ‘I am so disappointed, I am going to unfollow’ Or maybe just a little bit of the green-eyed monster. Posting a picture doesn’t include all the work beforehand to be able to get the job so to some it just looks easy.
But my least favourite are the high horse, you should be living your life by my moral compass type of comments. In a world where we are expected to be sold something everywhere we look, why can’t those who don’t like the AD just scroll on by? The same way we flip through a magazine and don’t give the printed ads a second thought.
I personally love the personalisation of AD’s and it has given a chance to see more women that look like me ‘advertise’ something. If I follow you I am happy to know that you’re getting paid for your content and creativity or just influence. One thing social media has done is opened the doors to those that it has been sealed tight to. The power of social media has allowed especially black women to get paid for their creativity. Large brands now can’t ignore those that initially they turned their noses up at because they were not ‘in’ the industry.
I hope the AD’s continue and creative content creators get all the coins for the work and effort they put in. Unfortunately, social media has made it easy for people to say whatever they like with little or no consequence. Also influencers have decided to share aspects of their lives that breeds familiarity. So the next time you have an issue with an AD which clearly is in line with a person’s lifestyle. Maybe take a second to think the issue is not the AD it is most likely you.