The hospitality lounge opens its doors. A dozen girls enter the room. Most of them wearing a Picasso-cap or some rediculous, but probably trendy hat over their duckfaces. Some are wearing fur coats, they all look like they are desperate to defecate. Or else, they might think of themselves as extremely important. The lady by my side pokes me, nodding at this circus: “A fortune on handbags is entering”, she grins.
We’re at the press launch of a new car, meet the social influencers. We, the conventional press, are paid by our audience for our professional review on the new car. These clowns get paid by the manufacturer to attend the event. I must admid, their graft is well hidden: whilst their host is proudly explaining his latest product, all they care about is their product placed smartphones. Decency is more expensive.
I have been in this business for almost a quarter of a century. It strikes me that a branche that used to be as pregressive as whitchhunters, completely turns around. Recently I went to the press launch of a new model of a brand that is mainly bought by elderies. In our company, there was a girl with an Instagram-account, but withous a drivers licence. Her boyfriend was on the same trip, since he had a YouTube-account. In the end, ther lady posted ten photographs on het Instagram-account. Nine of them showing the hotel and one showing the car. Hashtag the brand. Unfortunately spelled wrong. That’s what you payed two plane tickets, a hotel room and catering for.
Social influencers. It rather pathetic that so many young people seem to need them to tell what tot like. An entire generation, unable to decide for themselves. Every generation has its losers, but if it comes to the number of followers these influencers claim, this generation is completely retarded.
I understand that selling lipgloss or sanitary pads can be helped by social influencers. Their audience just had their first menstrual flow and are dying to appear on Tinder like a russian callgirl. But they are years away from buying their first car. Car brand seem not to realise that. Just like they don’t know that followers are for sale. A dutch importer of a main stream branche is told by its manufacturer to spend 80 percent of its PR-budget on duckfaced girls. A premium brand considers to stop delivering test cars to motoring magazines because they are too critical. They prefer vloggers and social influencers to review their cars. They don’t have a clue, but say exactly as they are told, to a price.
In the end, it is all about market mechanism. Readers refuse to pay for content, but those who make content, still have a mortgage and shoppings to pay for. Thus, producers start paying for their content and audience have to cope with journalists telling them what the manufacturers tell them what to tell.
You pay peanuts, you get monkeys. Or girls with duckfaces. I truly hope that their advice will help you to decide on which new car you will spend your next 40 grand.