How Influencer Marketing is Breeding Vanity In Millennials And Gen Z

Introducing Gen V – Generation Vanity.


Influencer marketing has arguably been the most powerful marketing strategy for brands in 2018, with the most successful campaigns yielding obscene ROI’s. Despite controversy about its sustainability and effectiveness amongst some digital marketers, the best campaigns are undeniably successful.


The concept of influencer marketing is far from new. Companies have been using it in television ads for years. But the influencer marketing that we recognise today exists mostly within and because of social media.


Influencers normally have lots of followers, engagement or influence. They get paid to post content on their platforms on behalf of brands, to present an “authentic” perspective of the product or service. The number of followers or engagements required to become an influencer is not small. Influencers might need to have hundreds, thousands or millions of followers to be considered, especially for the bigger brands.


Millennials and Gen Z have hopped onto the trend and now make up a large part of the influencer industry. They have, after all, grown up with social media around them. They know how to post engaging content and what people just like them want to see. There are influencers as young as 4 years old. Just like with starting a business, there is no minimum or maximum age. It might surprise you to learn that some influencers are not even human.


Most successful influencers are being paid hundreds of thousands of pounds per photo or post. For some, it’s a bonus that just comes along with their passions. For others, it’s an easy way to make money and build a profitable career. But with the money, the fame and the influence comes a degree of vanity which I find, at times, quite ridiculous.


Where does this come from?


Well, as its an easy and accessible source of money, many young people want to be influencers. They’ll do whatever they can to become influencers, posting five selfies a day, snapping every Michelin star meal they eat or flaunting their wealth and possessions. Some will fake it til they make it if they have to. When they do make it, though, many rightly feel an extreme sense of achievement. Inevitably, some let it go to their heads, though. With the likes and money rolling in, so too does the vanity.


I would like to make it clear at this point that I do not think this is the case for every influencer. Some do amazing things with their influence.


Others, however, start flaunting their body, latest possessions or wealth. The love of their wealth seems to come above the brand and their loyal audience that got them to where they are. This then serves as an example for their followers, who want to achieve the same thing. You can see how this creates an unsustainable and negative spiral.


Excusing vanity as a challenge.


One of the finest examples of this vanity is the “falling stars” challenge that swept through China and Russia last month. Instagram users started posting photos of themselves falling over, with various luxury goods spilled on the floor. The sole objective was simply to flaunt your wealth. Some people were even falling out of private jets and supercars, with designer clothes and accessories, and sometimes plain money, scattered on the floor


The attempts to appear influential and follow-worthy have a close link to the rise of influencer marketing and the satisfaction of being famous on social media. The attempts are often inconsiderate, ignorant and even arrogant. By being aware of the potential risks and pitfalls of this lifestyle, you can be better prepared to not to fall into the same situation.