If you’re an influencer, you’ve probably been asked to promote a brand before. There are some brands that, almost every influencer seemed to promote at least once during their career. Certain influencer-promoted products seem almost inescapable on Youtube, Instagram, and TikTok. Does this consistent “over-marketing” tactic actually benefit brands who use it? Or, are shoppers less likely to buy a product if it’s being constantly shoved in their face? And as an influencer, if a product is constantly being promoted by other creators, is it actually beneficial for you to promote it as well?
Function of Beauty, a custom hair-care subscription service, is a perfect example of over-marketing. You’ve definitely heard of it if you’re at all involved in the world of YouTube, Instagram, or TikTok. Function of Beauty allows users to take a quiz that customizes their hair goals, then sends them monthly products specialized for their personal styling needs. This company pretty much reaches out to any and every semi-relevant influencer on the market to promote their product.
Between the years 2018-2020, Function of Beauty was everywhere. You couldn’t click on a YouTube video without having to sit through a five-minute spiel about the benefits of the haircare company. Function CEO Zahir Dossa stated recently that he actually toned down the public influencer marketing in 2020 and 2021. However, according to the company’s statistics, Function still saw a 70% increase in website clicks over the past year. So they continued to gain revenue despite the fact that the company seemed to shove their product down everyone’s throats. This speaks to the benefits of this influencer marketing method.
Influencers who promote the brand claim to be obsessed with its products. Despite this fact, Function faced a ton of controversy surrounding its hair products in the past few years. With consistent user reports of dried-out hair, scalp thinning, and even full-on hair loss, users are feeling a bit faked out after trusting their favorite influencer’s product reviews. In a 2021 VICE article, Fitness coach Madison Hoover discusses her experience with the company. “I was just looking for a good hydrating moisturizing shampoo and conditioner, and I had seen influencers promoting Function of Beauty for probably the past four or five years,” she says. But evidently, Blank’s hair began to thin and eventually fall out in clumps. Hoover ended up tossing the shampoo and conditioner products immediately before the situation worsened.
The Downfalls of the Brand Deal
An over-marketed brand can suffer heavily in the public eye. But, according to revenue stats, Function of Beauty is doing just fine financially, despite its issues with product functionality. So, who does this leave out in the cold? Not only the shoppers who faced unpleasant experiences with the product but the influencer who promoted it. A brand deal works like this: an influencer accepts a free product. The product gets promoted online, and the influencer convinces their viewers that they love it. When the influencer has loyal viewers, they often trust the influencer’s judgement, despite knowing that they’re viewing an ad.
If a follower of an influencer purchases Function of Beauty, and their hair starts falling out, they’ll likely blame the influencer before they blame the company. If you’re an influencer who promotes a bad product, you take most of the heat off of the company when shoppers are unsatisfied with their purchase.
Choosing Your Brand
Over-marketing can be cringey. Personally, I would never purchase Function of Beauty’s products. This is simply because of the fact that they’re constantly shoved into my face every time I get online. However, there are enough people out there that do trust influencer recommendations. In the end, the company’s marketing approach still heavily benefits them. So if you’re an influencer, it’s important to be careful when accepting a brand deal. Do you actually like the product? Do you feel comfortable promoting it to your followers? Because when companies obsessively use influencer marketing, there’s a pretty high chance that if the product being promoted has any issues, the influencers will take the heat while the companies continue to profit.
Feature Image from Carlos Muza on Unsplash