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Has the aspirational influencer come to an end?

6th February 2023

By Rich Langrish – Head of Social

Ladies and gentlemen, gather round, for I bring you the death knell of the aspirational influencer. That’s right, the end is nigh for those Insta-famous types who’ve made a living out of pretending to live a lavish lifestyle that the rest of us can only dream of.

 

It’s been brewing for some time. From Molly-Mae proclaiming everyone has the same 24hrs in their day as Beyonce to that fateful video from Lydia Millen when she was forced to stay at the Savoy Hotel as her boiler broke #relatable. The level of public outrage sparked by these two incidents alone was quite something, and it was clear that the tide was turning against these so-called influencers.

You see, the aspirational influencer was born on Instagram, and the requirements for entry were simple: be pretty, have a certain body type, and have money (or at least the ability to fake it). And so, thousands of people became Insta-famous for no discernible reason, making a living out of wearing designer clothes, travelling to exotic locations, and sipping on weight-loss teas. But, like all good dreams, it had to end.

You could say it started with TikTok, the new kid on the block. With its emphasis on entertaining content, the platform didn’t require users to follow anyone and offered millions of people a welcome distraction during a bleak and trying time. But TikTok (and apps like BeReal) did something else, too: it changed our perception of influencers. Suddenly, comedians, geeks, experts and trainspotters dominated our feeds, and the flat-lay and Insta aesthetics were nowhere to be seen.

Next, it was COVID and lockdowns. Suddenly, those whose entire livelihoods were built around being seen in certain places and doing certain things were thrust into the same boat as their audiences, stuck at home and doing very little. Hardly the stuff of aspirations. 

If that wasn’t enough, the cost of living crisis might just be the final nail in the coffin for the aspirational influencer. With millions of people struggling to make ends meet, seeing people on social media living a life so removed from our own is nothing short of alienating and rage-inducing.

If more proof is needed, look at Love Island, the influencer factory whose ratings and online mentions have declined as we tire of watching beautiful and talentless people compete for love future brand deals.

So, to all you aspiring lifestyle influencers out there, take note of Molly-Mae’s wise words: “we all have the same 24 hours.” Use that time wisely and become interesting, for the reign of the aspirational influencer is over.

Next article… The Rise of the Experts

Out of the ashes, a new type of influencer is emerging, and savvy brands are identifying and partnering with these creators to great effect.

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