Social Media Influencers
Over the past few months there has been a lot of backlash surrounding social media influencers in Ireland. Between issues with advertising, photo-shopping and claims of bullying.
Controversy Around Advertising
Over the last year the social media influencer has come to the front-line over the way they handle advertising. Social media influencers who are paid to promote products are required to disclose this as a marketing post.
One of the first complaints the ASAI “Advertising Standards Authority Ireland” was in June 2017 and since then the number of complaints has rising by about 5%.
This complaint was in relating to a detox drink featured on a social media influencer’s SnapChat. The complaint was made to the ASAI from a member of the public claiming the content had not been identified as sponsored.
This complaint was not upheld or rejected by the ASAI. However, the complaint was published, and the brand was advised that it is their responsibility to insure correct advertising around their products.
According to the ASAI this form of advertising is no different than any other form of advertising and must follow the same guidelines. The guidelines were updated last year and now include areas focused on bloggers and social media marketing.
Controversy Around Photo-shopping
One of the reasons for complaints around the influencer using highly edited pictures ties into the advertising. It is claimed that if pictures are over edited then it can lead to misleading information.
For example, if an influencer was promoting a makeup brand but their pictures are edited to remove all flaws, then the consumer is deceived into thinking the effects come from the product alone.
Another reason for the backlash when it comes to over edited pictures is how misleading it can be for young followers. As some of the images are so heavily edited they portray an image of perfection. It is claimed that this can have a negative effect on young followers and lead to body confidence issues.
Social Media Influencer – Bullying
There has been a lot of forums set up online discussing the above topics and calling out specific social media influencers. Some of these forms target certain influencers and can get out of hand very quickly. Over the last few months Irish influencers have come together to claim this as a form of online bullying.
It is claimed that some of the content targeted towards them relates to their private lives and is a form of bullying. Together these Irish influencers have vowed to do more to prevent this type of bullying. I think in the next few months we will read a lot more about these issues.
Jennifer Wrynn and Ciara O’Doherty Charging Extreme Mark-Ups
Two ladies that have had a lot of media attention recently is Jennifer Wrynn and Ciara O’Doherty. The Irish Mail on Sunday published an article claiming that both Jennifer and Ciara had been selling products at an extremely inflated price. It was claimed that accessories sold at Jennifer’s store in Dublin and on Ciara’s online store were the same products available from online discount Ali Express. Jennifer responded saying that she does source the accessories sold in her store from Asia. Both women have defended the mark-ups referring to the different expenses incurred in running a business.
Some of the prices charged for these items were up to eighteen times higher than that available from Ali Express. Considering that double or three times the amount is normal for mark-ups how can these extreme mark-ups be justified to business costs. Are consumers aware of these types of mark-ups or is this a price their willing to pay for convenience. As these extreme mark-ups are not illegal it poses a question as to how many other cases like this that we the consumers are unaware of.
All businesses deserve the right to charge extra to cover costs incurred in running a business. But these mark-ups I think go above and beyond that, they do not protect the consumers and cannot be good for the reputation of the business. These women have been unfortunate to have been publicly called out on their mark-ups, but I am sure they not the only businesses that have done so. Maybe we need better protection for the consumers to prevent this from happening or at least to make the consumers aware of it.
Jennifer is a hat designer who runs her own ladies boutique in the Powerscourt Centre in Dublin. She has a following of over 33k on Instagram and over 100k followers on Facebook. She also runs her own blog where she blogs about her travels, work and fashion.
Ciara is a Fashion Stylist and Lifestyle blogger who runs her own online boutique selling hair pieces. She has a following of over 38k on Instagram and over 12k followers on Facebook. She also runs a YouTube Channel where she Vlogs on fashion, travel and career tips.