However much this does sound like the title of a dissertation, it is something that has been on my mind for a while. For the last few weeks, I have been inundated with adverts on my social media channels with celebrities endorsing products, that I will guarantee, they have never used.
Trackback 10 years ago… Celebrities were all over the place advertising drinks, cars, perfumes, haircare, makeup – the lot. They were used to maximise the impact of a marketing campaign and build brand awareness amongst consumers with their recognisability. But fast forward to the present, and these well-known endorsements are few and far between.
Back in the day, when we saw a face that we knew advertising a brand, the teenager in us would associate the familiarity with trust, and with that, we would more than likely purchase the product – easy for big brands to make a sale to susceptible youngsters who want nothing more than to fit in with the masses.
But now, with the more and more brands that there are out there, the harder it is for companies to get into our heads and influence our buying habits, even if they do use a celebrity to try and sway us.
Around eight years ago, something amazing happened to the way that we would purchase items for the foreseeable future – something that was so disruptive for brands, and something none of them knew how to jump on as it was happening – the YouTuber, Blogger hybrid, was born.
YouTube had been around for many years before this, but it was only in about 2009 when girls from all over the world started showing their ever-growing audiences what they had purchased – and the haul video as we know it, was born.
This was such a new way for consumers to see what clothes and makeup looked like on actual, real-life girls and not 6-foot tall, size 4, airbrushed-to-the-max supermodels. All of a sudden, the fashion and beauty industry had to take these new ‘influencers’ into account and try and get them on their side to promote their products.
At first, a lot of these new YouTubers were happy to accept clothes and makeup for free in exchange for an honest review on their channels, but as the industry got bigger and bigger, a lot of them realised that they could make a living by doing this full-time.
However, because of the uncertainty surrounding the blogging industry, a lot of brands didn’t see a future in this and continued to endorse their products with celebrities; but they soon realised that the average twenty-something is much more likely to buy a dress from a face they know and trust, who, at the end of the day, is a twenty-something themselves, telling them the honest ins and outs of a product.
Do you remember back in 2016, where Scott Disick pasted the instructions of what a brand wanted him to write into his Instagram caption? Or when Daley Blind broke the illusion that he actually liked and purchased his new Adidas shirt instead of being paid to advertise it? Brands are now just telling their endorsers what to write showing that the celebrity has no interest in the product whatsoever, as long as they are being paid to talk about it, which makes the blogging industry even more refreshing.
For the past few years since I have been a part of this industry myself (albeit, on a much smaller scale) I have noticed that Bloggers, YouTubers and Instagrammers all have so much more sway on what the 14-30 year-old market is buying because they are people just like you and me.
With the introduction of Instagram stories and the ability to add in links to the products you are wearing (the ‘swipe up’ links that you can only do if your following is more than 10,000) as well as YouTubers linking every product they are talking about in their videos in the description box, it is becoming even more accessible for us to purchase these items in a quick and timely manner – because as a generation, all we ever talk about is our lack of time – so anything that is made quick and easy for us, we love.
To me, celebrity endorsements have been dying out for years, as the evolution of consumer’s buying habits continues to change. We are no longer drawn to Pantene because Ellie Goulding has nice hair; we no longer want to buy L’Oreal because Penelope Cruz looks flawless, and we longer want to shop at Iceland because Kerry Katona told us how cheap it was – that one was a long-shot anyway.
As consumers, we are more likely now to make our own decisions, instead of being swayed by a face we know. We’re not stupid: We know the amount of choice there is out there, so we want to make an informed judgment instead of jumping on the bandwagon.
The honesty and relatability of the everyday girl talking about Topshop Joni jeans, the latest Naked palette and which foundation is the best for night’s out if much more appealing than air-brushed celebrities on our TV screens who have probably never picked up the product in their life.
Maybe I’m wrong; maybe one-day celebrity endorsements will make a comeback: But in my eyes, the new generation of influencers are becoming the celebrities that we recognise and trust, as they are more self-aware and care about the products they are reviewing, and it’s only a matter of time before we see social media taking over another part of the world.