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When Influencer Marketing Goes Wrong

Like most things in life, sometimes influencer marketing can go wrong. Whether it’s a PR disaster, copy and paste fail, a campaign that generates backlash, a post that flops or an influencer that doesn’t disclose properly – it usually isn’t a good look for your brand.

The good news? Most influencer marketing issues can be avoided with the right planning. By working with influencers who are a good fit, doing due diligence and planning your campaign you can avoid any embarrassing fails.

Here are some examples of influencer marketing gone wrong, and how they could have been avoided:

Scott Disick and Bootea

The Kardashian/Jenners and their extended family are no strangers to influencer marketing, However, that didn’t stop Scott Disick from totally messing up his first sponsored Instagram post for Bootea. It became pretty clear that he had just copy and pasted content from the brand into his caption as he left posting instructions from the brand in there.

His caption read: “Here you go, at 4pm est, write the below Caption: Keeping up with the summer workout routine with my morning @booteauk protein shake!” Oops.

Scott’s audience quickly picked up on it and the inauthenticity behind it, leading to a pretty big backlash online. Doing your due diligence and working with influencers who are careful and consistent (as well as being the right fit for your brand) is really important for your brand’s reputation.

Molly Mae’s Giveaway

Whilst Molly Mae is currently doing big things as the Creative Director of PLT, she’s previosuly been rapped by the ASA by not disclosing her PLT sponsorships or ads. She also courted controversy with the ASA earlier in the year by hosting a giveaway that was found not to be fair – this saw a huge backlash from followers, the media and a fine from the ASA.

The biggest takeaway from this is to make sure that you know the rules that influencers need to follow when working with your brand. If they fail to disclose a partnership or an ad, then your brand could be liable as well as the influencer.

Munroe Bergdorf and L’Oréal Paris

L’Oréal Paris paired with Munroe Bergdorf as their first transgender ambassador. Munroe – known for her honesty in sharing her opinions – was vocal about her thoughts on racism and white supremacy, leading to L’Oréal Paris choosing to end their partnership with her as her comments “were at odds with their values.” 

Unsurprisingly there was a huge backlash, with the brand accused of being performative when it came to activism. It turned into a PR nightmare for the brand and lost them the support of many customers. 

The main learning curve here is to work with influencers who are aligned with your brand and values. It’s also important to be authentic when talking about sensitive topics, rather than just utilising them as a marketing tool.

Aldi and Natalie Lee

We’re sure Aldi meant well with their #AldiPoorestDayChallenge, where they challenged influencer Natalie Lee to feed her family on £25 a day to raise awareness of those living in food poverty. It was meant to share inspiration for family meals on a budget. Instead, the sponsored post was overwhelmingly criticised for being tone-deaf, unhealthy and offensive.

When planning your influencer campaign, it’s important to consider it carefully from different angles to ensure that you’re not going to upset your audience. Getting different opinions and ensuring your messaging is right is a key part of influencer campaign planning.

Kendall Jenner and Pepsi

This TV ad went viral for all the wrong reasons. The messaging was awkward, showing Kendall calming down tension at a protest by handing a bottle of Pepsi to a police officer, and felt extremely inauthentic. Kendall isn’t known for being an activist or spokesperson. It also looked like it was capitalising on the Black Lives Matter movement to sell a soft-drink. The ad was pulled and both Pepsi and Kendall issued apologies.

The lesson from this is to work with the right influencers and to really think about the content that you’re putting out there as a brand, and how it will be perceived by the audience. Having a PR strategy and crisis management plan is also extra-important in these situations!

Want to do Influencer Marketing the right way? Get in touch with the team here.