BIGGEST INFLUENCER NO-NOs IN 2020
This is an article “Biggest Influencer No-nos in 2020” by Marc Primo Warren
Today’s marketing is highly reliant on the works of influencers who can pull in more followers and potential customers to a brand. As everybody already knows, 2020 was a pretty challenging year for most industries but somehow paved the way for more growth in the digital marketing realm. More users have gone online to purchase products and follow brands and for this, influencer marketing has never been more effective... or at least, for some.
With the many controversies that emerged last year in both social and political circles, many influencers made it to the headlines with outrageous antics that some considered over the top. From YouTube stars to prominent niche personalities, these influencers made more publicity but in a way that no company ever wanted.
Fashion copyright infringement claims
Let’s start off during the mid-month of January with sustainable fashion guru Jade Myers using the handle @fashionwithouttrashin on Instagram. She took We Wore What influencer Danielle Bernstein on social media by uploading samples of the latter’s work on Poshmark prior to their release via luxury swimwear company Onia. Bernstein then asked Myers to remove the pieces from her site even offering money for their resale value. It turns out that Myer’s retail price was too big for Bernstein who later backed off on the deal by saying she was only willing to pay for the cost of goods Myer’s had paid for, triggering an Instagram ping pong battle on copyright infringement. Soon, the entire social media world blew up with the screenshots Myers uploaded on her IG account which many saw as bullying tactics by Bernstein.
However, all’s well that ends well as the two eventually settled their differences out of court with Bernstein apologizing for the misunderstanding and with Myers scoring more merchandise to sell from We Wore What’s Onia collection on her site.
Another influencer controversy came in mid-March 2020 when Something Navy founder Arielle Charnas was discovered to have used connections to gain a COVID-19 test at the height of shortage across the US. Social media users posted some unsavory comments on Arnas’s IG account after they found out that she went to the Hamptons with family a few days after admitting she had the virus and was planning on placing herself under quarantine.
Soon enough, her IG posts showing her walking around outdoors caused a social media uproar that mainly claimed she was putting others at risk by not observing safety protocols. This prompted Arnas to present a slideshow in early April, telling her 1.3 million IG followers that she was sorry for her actions and that she and her family did quarantine for two weeks in Manhattan prior to their Hamptons trip. Nevertheless, netizens from all over saw Arnas’s posts ordering on privilege rather than concern.
Cosmetics influencer and entrepreneur Jeffree Star also got into social media trouble back in May for launching his Cremated makeup collection amid the deadly spread of COVID-19 across the country. Users were quick to point out the insensitivity that Star made, capitalizing on a 24-pan eyeshadow palette that perfectly depict the hues of urns and tombstones.
Star’s product names didn’t help either with such titles as Grave Digger, Death Certificate, The Morgue, and Casket Ready casting an aura of morbid and ominous vibes over the beauty industry. To make matters worse, Star also did a photo shoot at a cemetery to push his product to the market--- or at least to his target market of individuals who didn’t fit in as he later claimed.
He further defended his latest palette by telling social media users that he had already gained a trademark approval for his line of products way back in September 2019, even before the global pandemic so they were in no way created to be offensive. Be it a case of unfortunate timing, Star maintained his position that his products never came from a negative place but rather from an artistic perspective. He then even stated how his father and dogs also died the year before and were also cremated, making the practice his family’s tradition.