The title says it all. Both brands and influencers have an obligation of behaving responsibly to their potential customers, but no one is perfect and mistakes are sometimes unavoidable. The internet has made distances shorter and information quicker to be accessed, therefore when these mistakes happen, the price paid often involves lawsuits, decreases in sales, ruining careers, brands etc.
The Italian luxury fashion house, Dolce & Gabbana used a famous Chinese model, Zuo Ye to be the face of the campaign #DGlovesChina and shoot in 3 videos how she is trying to behave like an Italian by eating cannoli and pizza with chopsticks. Nevertheless, after the bad reactions appeared straightforward, the post was removed after 24 hours. The entire campaign was accused of trivialising Chinese culture and promoting unflattering stereotypes and lead to the cancelation of the fashion show in Shanghai by the Chinese government and some Chinese online retailers removed their products. Was this measure necessary or the Chinese overreacted?
There are many products being advertised , especially beauty ones that promise miracles. You probably remember the outrageous scandal between James Charles and Tati Westbrook . The promotion of Sugar Bear Hair broke Tati’s heart who is producing Halo Beauty and is in direct competition with the previous brand. However, the dispute got a lot of attention, subscribers went up and down, but the 100% truth is known by the protagonists.
We all know that advertising beauty products is as much as exciting, as also problematic. A product can react differently depending on the type of skin and in general skincare. Kylie Cosmetics owned by Kylie Jenner is a brand that got itself into hot water multiple times due to the defective products, not respecting the delivery dates and not including the exact order in a package. Despite all these problems, the brand used a very smart content strategy by creating real urgency based on scarcity ( when she launches a product, there is a small number of products on stock, so the next time this product is back again people will feel the urge of buying it) You can inform yourself about this brand here.
Does Fyre Festival tell you something? There is even a Netflix documentary that brings to the surface the issues caused by the organizers and promoters of the festivals to the attendants. It was expected to be a revolutionary festival on a private island, much better than Coachella aimed to filthy rich people, especially young ones ready to pay up to 12,000$ for a complete package. The 25 year old organizer had the brilliant idea of inviting influencers and models to shoot a promo video, faking the festival atmosphere, without knowing that they were getting themselves in a big lie.
The Swedish influencer Johanna Eolsson faked her fancy trip to Paris by posting many photos in hyped French locations, while wearing branded clothes. As soon as her photos were carefully analyzed (you didn’t even need to be an expert for that) , the negative exposure didn’t stop her as she persued with forging her holidays to Switzerland and Dubai. Some of the photos can still be found on her profile, which makes you even doubt about which ones are for real.
A different example, but in this case a positive one is Natalia Taylor who pretented to be on a luxury trip in Bali, when in fact she went to IKEA. However, some price tags were left intentionally to be seen, in order to check her audience’s attention. After she posted the photos, she did a behind the scenes Youtube video, where she explained every concept.
If we are talking about influencers on local level, Antonella Patitucci staged being stalked for almost a month and obviously many people were worried about her, because everything seemed real and that it was getting worse. She was explaining the uncomfortable situation in tears and showed how she had received threatening messages both on DM and mail box. Fortunately, this was done for a group of students from the Zurich University of the Arts who did a research regarding cybersecurity and launched a petition as there is no criminal offense for that in Switzerland. The situation however escalated and haters didn’t cease to appear.
As an advice, don’t let influencers blindfold you with whatever they promote. When a brand choses to work with a shady influencer and the other way around can damage what you have been trying to build for years, therefore keep looking for multiple sources of information. So these are a couple of examples that went wrong, but as the Influencer Marketing world is huge, did you come across other interesting cases? I would be delighted to hear that and generally, your opinion.