Like it or not, we’re living in the age of the influencers. However, the end may be in sight, as numerous parties have decided to fight back.
The influencer (or the aesthetically unemployed as I like to call them) has quickly become a towering part of the modern zeitgeist. Gazing back in twenty years, and we’ll see the hopeless gig economy worker and the semi-clad thot/mimbo/couple with unfair cheekbones as the primary earners of the age. While some (correctly) may see influencers as the final duckface of the late-stage capitalism, the subject of clickbait derision (I mean, really) or ammunition for private hours (you disgust me); there is one undeniable umbrella truth that shields all others: They’ve all managed to make something out of absolutely nothing.
Last week, the world rolled its eyes (and surreptitiously checked the Instagram of) Belle Delphine, the candy-haired genius who made headlines after announcing that she was selling her bathwater to her “thirsty fans”. At the time of print, one individual has been hospitalised after imbibing the second-hand matter, and the product has long sold out.
— Mothership.sg (@MothershipSG) July 6, 2019
But matter, it does not, as she is a marketing demigod, proving anything can be sold via the influencer model. Add flesh/background (A) to the product (B) and profit (C). A+B=C. On related news, she’s now contacted the media claiming that she isn’t promoting the rip-off of her product, ‘gamer girl pee’. Mashable doesn’t really believe her, stating that “…the site selling the pee also includes the same disclaimer as Delphine’s actual site to make it seem real. A domain search shows that the site was created on July 5, two days after she said her bathwater sold out.”
With all that being said, we might have witnessed the high watermark of the influencer generation, as some are attempting to put the genie back in the bottle, outwardly discriminating influencers, because screw ‘em.
Joe Nicchi is a Los Angelean who runs an ice cream truck; his sunken eyes, manicured salt and pepper beard and curated deltoids instantly remind you of the Californian Jesus that Elton referenced in ‘Tiny Dancer’. But unlike his famous doppelganger, he cares not for charity, as he’s told those who seek him out to promote his product for free, to F.O.
Nicchi took to the home turf of the influencer, Instagram, erecting a sign that read “influencers pay double” and vowed that he’d “never give you a free ice-cream in exchange for a post,” and then, to sprinkle salt on top, added the hashtag #InfluencersAreGross. Side note, Nicchi also happens to be a “working” LA actor, who his runs this faux-vintage food truck on the side, making him completely original.
Whether Nicchi has been nailed to a cross, erected and subsequently blinded repeated exposure to selfie-camera flash, is not known. Strangely, since taking a stand, his business has increased. Which strikes me as a trifle odd. He’s using the influencer method (free promotion of a product with an obvious aesthetic replete with a hashtagged mantra) to defeat the influencer method. In discussion with The Guardian, Nicchi noted that he was “the anti-influencer influencer”, which means that he’s no better than what he outed, and thusly, those looking to join his crusade just got got.
However, there are signs that the Age of the Influencer has reached a mindset equal to the final days of Rome. The value of their self-estimation has sky-rocketed, and hubris won over logic. They are, for want of a better term, drinking their own bathwater. Earlier this week, an influencer (and a bride to be) attempted to hire a photographer to document her wedding, offering the company ‘exposure’ in lieu of payment. For the high price of zero, the aforementioned bride looked to chisel an hour-long documentary, as well as a thousand photos thrown in.
It quickly devolved into a slanging match between the representatives of the influencer (who has a combined audience of 55,000), and the photographers they approached, with the representative accusing the photographers of being unprofessional, before saying that “the wedding is really important to my client as her mother has been diagnosed with cancer, and it’s really unfair of you to be so mean when you could have said no politely.”