The term ‘Influencer’ was coined by the New York Times in 2018, but the concept of an individual endorsing products or services has pre-dated the term by centuries.
- In Ancient Rome, Gladiators were said to have advertised products.
- In the 1930s, Coco Chanel was one of the first to influence the fashion industry.
- In 2022, Gemma Owen has controversially signed a contract with PLT.
So, what makes one influencer deal less desirable than another?
Gemma Owen entered the villa with more expectations than her fellow islanders. Growing up under the spotlight of her father’s football career, the media fixated on Owen’s decision to join the reality show. She didn’t need the money. Her custom made Tiffany necklace, priced over £40k, proved that.
For some, endorsing fast fashion after Love Island’s decision to promote pre-loved eBay clothing, was bad enough. For others, it was incomprehensible that someone so wealthy would design a collection that she herself would likely never buy.
Unlike her fellow reality show contestants, Tasha Ghouri partnered with a non-fast fashion retailer for the first time in the history of the show. Her deal with eBay UK has received praise by several news outlets, paving the way for more influencers to consider the impact of every brand deal they make.
Ghouri’s decision to choose the sustainable route has also called into question the range of brand deals and partnerships on offer to reality stars.
It’s no secret that endorsements from influencers, and affiliate marketing in general, provides high ROIs (Return on Investment), increased brand awareness and generous sales potential. But just as not all press is good press, not all brand deals are viewed equally as favourable in the public eye.
Fast Fashion vs Sustainability. Are reality stars changing the face of Influencer Marketing as we know it?