Celebrities hawk products on social media. That isn't exactly a secret. But oftentimes, it is subtle. Or, in the case of the Kardashian family, it's so ubiquitous it seems normal.
Which is kind of bullshit. Celebrity influence is huge, and fans often take a celebrity endorsement at its word. That's why celebrities create their own businesses—Kylie Jenner fans will buy Kylie Jenner lip products, and Dan Aykroyd fans will buy Dan Aykroyd vodka. But no matter how sincere those endorsements are—probably not very—they are still advertisements, made by celebrities for the sole purpose of a payout.
On Instagram alone, a profile with three-to-seven million followers can charge as much as USD75,000 per endorsement on Instagram—about the same on Snapchat—according to Captiv8, which connects brands with influencers. Someone with 50,000-to-500,000 followers might make USD1,000 for a post on Instagram or Snapchat. Not bad for a hundred characters and a photo. But it leads to unclear messaging to consumers.
Recently, Instagram attempted to unmask covert celebrity advertising, urging users to add #ad or #sponsored to their branded content. According to The New York Times, TruthinAdvertising.org also pressures celebrities for transparency in their posts, and the Kardashians have responded accordingly, deleting or editing past posts to make the wording crystal clear. One example given by The Times is a post by Kylie Jenner, which originally read, "Thanks for the birthday home, @airbnb." Now, it reads, "Thanks for the gift of a lovely birthday home, @airbnb." Same deal with the wording of Kim Kardashian's Airbnb post. It's barely different, but it still feels ickier, like you're falling for Airbnb's trick.
As The Times said, people are actively turned off by such blatant commercialism. Apparently, we like our sponsored content subtle, making it easier to ignore—or at least push away the feeling that we're getting suckered by a gimmick. But give it a few months, and we'll probably be immune to #ad and #sponsored, too.
From: Esquire US.