Should We Be Leaving Brand Image In The Hands of Bedroom Vloggers?

Beauty Influencers mainly consist of young girls sharing makeup tips and beauty tutorials. In 2017 alone, beauty related content received 88 billion views on YouTube with top influencer Yuya having a following of 20 Million subscribers.

Influencers reveal things that are not only good in their lives but the bad too. This makes them more vulnerable which is likable and relatable, but also means that this could filter through to the product promotion. Their success is built on trust and whilst the beauty industry has boomed because of influencers, there are plenty of negative product reviews like this video from Laura Lee which has over 1.5 million views and consists purely of products that she dislikes.

When an actress does a beauty commercial, not only does she get paid, but her face is plastered across the pages of magazines and billboards. If she has a film coming out soon, it is elevated because her presence is felt regularly through seeing her in the ads for the beauty product. The celebrity status of the actress is also raised because she is being presented as the archetype of perfection by the advertisers. However, when an exchange happens between an influencer and a brand, there is a very different set of rewards. This time the influencer is not projected by the advertiser, they are projecting the product in their own space, under their terms, through their point of view. Instead of exposure, what the influencer earns from the exchange, apart from money, is bringing more people into their audience pool because people may search for a specific lipstick and find that video. The key difference here is that if a celebrity makes a beauty ad look bad, it reflects badly on their public image. When a beauty influencer gives a beauty product a bad review, they make themselves look better because it increases their credibility as ‘truthful’.

Whilst you can use money to control the opinions of some influencers, many won’t accept money unless they like the product already. Vlogger Zoella has 12 Million subscribers and said, ‘I turn down 90% of brand deals because my following is built on trust.” If they don’t like your product, they’re free to tell their followers that they dislike your product and there is nothing you can do about it.

The brands have fed money into influencers and in turn have made their influence grow, only to now come to terms with the idea that the landscape created is uncontrollable. Every week vloggers come under fire, from James Charles’ racism scandal to Jeffery Stars racist remarks and when It happens not only is their personal image effected, but the brands they represent. The messages brands have been crafting for years through advertising and brand deals with celebrities is now in the hands of a 17-year-old girl who sits in her bedroom with a camera talking to millions of other young girls about the products.