This article is the second in our Social Series, giving you up-to-date tips about the legal side of using social media. See our other blogs here.
Personalities who become brand ambassadors can be powerful marketing tools.
Unfortunately, the fairy-tale relationship doesn’t always end in happily ever after. Pete Evans’ rapid fall from grace over the past several days has served as a reminder of just how quickly public figures can go off-brand, with major names such as Woolworths, Coles, Big W, Channel 10, and Dymocks quickly ceasing their association with the former celebrity chef.
Social media influencers are increasingly the go-to for ambassador positions and brand conversations, having huge potential to make products relatable and accessible, increasing exposure and successfully driving sales.
In the online space, however, it seems as though another influencer is ‘cancelled’ every other day. Just last week, live-streaming platform Twitch removed the popular ‘Pogchamp’ emote from their site after the face of the emote, streamer Ryan “Gootecks” Gutierrez, tweeted encouragement of ‘further violence’ at the US Capitol. In previous years, Logan Paul and Felix Kjellberg (PewDiePie) were both dropped by Disney after posting inappropriate behaviour online. Youtuber Laura Lee was dropped or suspended from every partnership she was involved in, including with global brands Ulta and Morphe Brushes, after racist tweets written by her surfaced.
So, what can brands do to avoid testing the veracity of the old adage ‘all publicity is good publicity’?
Despite the risks, influencers can still be a lucrative investment for marketing campaigns. Before signing on the dotted line, it pays to check that your ambassador/influencer agreement is watertight and clearly and adequately addresses key issues to help manage brand risk, so that you can benefit from the professional relationship with as little worry as possible.
Entering into a commercial relationship with an influencer can be daunting, as this requires a significant financial and reputational investment by a brand. Influencers, like many personalities, can by their very nature be opinionated, entitled and prone to act unpredictably – and have before bitten the hand that feeds them. Before brands appoint them as ambassadors, therefore, brands should consider the relationship, assess the risks and take steps to manage these risks by entering into a comprehensive agreement that addresses the relevant legal issues, including if applicable those identified above.
We are always here to help, so please contact us if you think you have found that perfect personality for your brand and want to make the most of it.
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