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Brace Yourselves: The Age of Influencers Has Only Just Begun

"Celebrities" on Instagram aren't going anywhere.
May 16, 2017, 1:36pm

If you thought the Fyre Festival disaster, the pulled Pepsi "Live for Now" commercial, the whitewashed 10th anniversary Vogue India cover—or any other Kendall Jenner-related debacle, really—signaled the end of influencers, you were gravely mistaken. Industry leaders say the data is in, and the Instagram celebs aren't going anywhere.

"These are still trusted voices," Justin Rezvani, the Forbes "30 under 30" founder of influencer marketing platform TheAmplify, told Motherboard. "I think there's going to be a heightened sense of awareness, people are going to do more research, but I don't think [Fyre] is going to destroy the validity of an entire industry."

The failed luxury music festival put a spotlight on the disingenuous or fraudulent practices occasionally found in influencer marketing, which relies on celebrities' extensive social media reach to drum up excitement for brands and their products. Stars such as Jenner and Selena Gomez, who command small armies of followers (80.3 million and 120 million, respectively), have been called out for a "lack of authenticity" by serving as influencers for too many brands. In Fyre's case, the personalities advertising the event failed to disclose the fact they were being paid to do so on their personal social media channels and—moreover—wouldn't even be in attendance.

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