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By Nathan Ruff for Mumbrella

HooZu’s Nathan Ruff breaks down exactly what went wrong with influencer Andrew Pap’s sponsored engagement announcement, after it received a torrent of negativity online

Like the majority of my contemporaries in the advertising sphere, I’ve not been able to escape the Insta image of Renae Ayris getting proposed to over a cuppa joe from her loving fiancé Andrew Papadopoulos.

Like you, my heart melted at the two perfectly formed beauties in bed, who seemed to wake up without a hair follicle out of place, or the dry drool crust that I suffer from.

There’s a gleam of anticipation in their eyes at tackling the day together, utter content, happiness and affection flowing from perfectly formed biceps and tanned bodies, not to mention the glancing look of appreciation and thanks to the gods of love for finding each other.

Andrew nervously jostles with the realisation there is only one more thing to do, he has to ask the question that will bind their love forever. He finds the strength, gets down on one knee and says… can I get you a cup of Nescafé?

Ok, I may have taken some extreme satirical liberties as I’m not actually sure what came first, the coffee, marriage proposal, or scheduled reflection time on the engagement (maybe we can ask the photographer on the end of their bed), which raises other questions.

But the real question is why would anyone use such a ‘memorable life moment’ and tie it in with a sponsored coffee post? Are the lines now becoming too blurred? What is next? Will we be in the birthing suite promoting a paper towel brand?

In defence of Renae and Andrew (neither I nor Hoozu have any association or involvement with the campaign), they probably believed the glossy and touching moment of their lives was a good opportunity to share.

A lot of their audiences and followers, who engage with the pair every day, enjoy the content they create and would feel honoured to be included and privy to such an intimate moment.

However, to deliver this ‘special moment’ as a sponsored post screams of tackiness and misjudgment and it’s not surprising the couple received so many negative comments in response. It should never have been put forward by their agency and the post deserves the criticism it has received.

When done right, influencer produced content can be remarkably powerful, relatable, moving and educational. The integration opportunities for brands is hugely valuable, but it needs to be done with proper planning and strategy. The power of influencer generated content is that it resonates as being true; it should be as real as possible to the brand that is paying you, and the audience that is following you.

Done badly, it can be extremely damaging for brand and influencer alike. Having created and tracked thousands of pieces of social content we can attest that real people dealing with real issues (like getting kids in cars, running late for everything, getting two hours sleep and waking up with blotchy skin, hiding stretch marks, feeling fat etc); perform far better than repurposed branded billboard imagery.

When audiences see influencers with flashy lives facing the same issues they face i.e. hiding love handles and not being able to keep their kids clean, they respond positively, in turn reaping a positive affiliation for associated brands.

Social audiences are not stupid, and should never be regarded as. The art of producing strong content lies equally across discovery and creation – if one is off the end result will be off too.

For any brand it is critical you use advocates that would use the product, are relatable, and who have legitimate audiences that match the desired customer base. Content has to appear as true to the influencer as the audience that is watching.

Ultimately, the backlash to Andrew’s post has reinforced the need to balance being on message for brands, staying authentic to audiences, and tapping into timely events. Some advocates are better at this balance than others, but ultimately it’s the role of the content agency to guide them and protect them from such faux pas.

A good reputation can take decades to build and a moment to damage, so brands and influencers should tap into the data and AI insights which can guarantee success for both parties. In any case, when embarking on influencer content please make sure it reflects the advocates personality, is an authentic brand/product match, and that the content itself oozes reality.

Oh, and don’t include sponsored posts on special life announcements, unless you’re promoting an engagement ring.

See article here