There was a brief, and I mean very brief, time in Tinsel Town when industry folks looked to social media for the next generation of actors. It was like the new gold rush for talent and everyone was heading to the information superhighway at light speed. We were blinded not by talent or personality but with one simple number and that was followers. All over town, reps were signing social media talent left and right. They even created new divisions in their office whose only focus was to make social media stars the next big film star.
Then something happened it was like we were released from the matrix and our eyes were opened.
We figured out that not a lot of social media stars were really talented for the big screen or even the small screen. Also, I can tell you from my own experience they can be kind of difficult to work with. It was kind of like a stock market crash for those that invested into these stars and they had to figure out a new way to rebound from this lost investment.
I mean you’ve seen it a million times, you watch your favorite Instagram star open a box full of jeans and they pretend that it’s all spontaneous. Instagram has been transformed into a platform for commercials. It kind of reminds me of how commercials used to be when TV was first invented. A spokesman would just come out on-screen holding a product and simply tell us how amazing it was. There was no catchy music or special effects, just a person and his or her product. That’s kind of what social media stars have become too, repeating the history of commercials, post World War II.
Now at first, it worked. Wewould see a social media star on Instagram unbox some cool gear and show it off. We would get sucked in and think oh wow they love this so much that they are showing it off on their account. The followers were led to think, “This must be a really great product for them to share it with all their followers, and its so honest that I’m going to go out and buy it right now.”
It’s like when your best friend buys a cool shirt and you want to wear it too. Social media stars create this connection with their followers because they put so much of their lives online. They want you to feel like you’re part of their world and that you’re friends. So they slip you a product. Its such a genius marketing technique.
Advertisers and marketers would pay a social media stars, some of them, six figures, to make posts about their product and pretend that it was spontaneous. To a company, this was a complete budget saver, because you didn’t have to put in all the work that a classic commercial requires.
You didn’t need to hire a production staff, actors, director, writers, and crew. The social media star would just use their phone and sit on their bed showing off the product to all their millions of followers. This was on the verge of becoming the next big thing in cost affective advertisement, but then something happened.
It was decided that #ad would be placed at the beginning of any social media post that was about promoting a product in exchange for money. People were tired of the lies from social media stars using influence to sell products they don’t even care about. It shatters the reality for many followers because now we knew that it was all lies.
I guess I should have known better when I saw a fitness social media star I use to follow pose with an unhealthy burger and say they love it. It was pretty much like finding out that Santa Clause wasn’t real. The followers/consumers put all their trust in these social media stars and it all came crashing down with three simple letters that form #ad. Then I sit and think maybe these social media stars are good actors. They’re still not ready for the big screen, but I might go see them in a Dinner Theater Production of “Guys and Dolls.”