What happens when you leave your room, or when you go to sleep, but you don’t have to live in a palace: Lydia Millen checked into the Savoy
When Lydia Millen’s heating broke in late November, she checked into Britain’s oldest luxury hotel, the Savoy, where gilded rooms go for anywhere from $700 to $5,500 a night. “I’m going to make full use of their wonderful hot water,” the British influencer told her 797,000 TikTok followers.
The 4.2 million views was vehement. Many commenters compared Millen to a woman known as Marie Antoinette; others joked about using a private jet to watch the footie. A comment with more than 15,000 likes summed up the best sentiment: the room has not been read.
Britons are currently experiencing fuel poverty as energy prices soar and inflation in the UK reached a 41-year high before Millen checked into the Savoy. Many British families are currently choosing between heating and eating, while rail workers, nurses, and firefighters are planning to strike for livable wages.
Creating Trust with Social Media: The Case of Sophie Wood, an Environmentally Responsible Influencer and the Affect of Artificial Intelligence
In addition, power has shifted away from individuals and toward major social media companies. Under the banner of “helping creators,” giants like Meta buy out or rip off smaller businesses’ tools and services, derailing competitors’ prospects and bolstering users’ reliance on their own apps. Further, the total lack of transparency about how each company’s algorithms work causes many influencers and brands to operate under constant threat of their visibility—and thus, income and potential—tanking without warning. Then, when it inevitably does, they must waste time and resources trying to figure out why. There is no customer service line or an HR rep.
Sophie Wood, a 25-year-old New Yorker with more than 59,000 followers across her social media accounts, did not post any sales on Black Friday. It is silly to encourage spending at a time when many people are getting laid off. It seems really silly for me to be spending money on things that I am not buying.
Wood, who has previously done campaigns for Urban Outfitters, Crocs, HBO Max, and Google, says she has recently begun working with sustainable and ethical fashion brands who produce clothing that’s “built to last.” She has asked some companies to take her off their gift lists due to her posts of fewer pictures of gifts and PR packages.
Across the pond, Amy Zwirn, head of agencies at London-based marketing company Influencer, says that brands are becoming more discerning about the talent they work with, opting for “trusted voices.”
“Speaking to your favorite creator during a really uncertain time is very different than if you’re spoken to directly by brands,” she says. Zwirn believes that if the UK does enter a recession, companies will build trust with consumers by seeking out specific influencers to act as longe-term ambassadors, rather than doing ad hoc campaigns with numerous creators.
The White House Campaign to Educate the Public: Landon Morgado and the Making of Pseudo-Events
The White House was visited by a singer as part of a campaign to encourage people to get vaccinations. The visit consisted of a series of meticulously planned photo ops and social media-friendly content creation, including meeting with Vice President Kamala Harris while wearing coordinating light pink suits and posing with President Joe Biden in matching aviator sunglasses. Rodrigo and Dr. Anthony Fauci made a video of them reading positive tweets about vaccines, drawing on a popular late-night television trope in which celebrities read tweets about themselves.
The entire trip was planned and executed so that it would deliver a message to a targeted population. These sorts of public relations stunts—pseudo-events, as historian Daniel Boorstin called them—have happened for generations. The interesting thing about this one was who orchestrated it: not the usual squad of publicists and managers but a man named Landon Morgado, whom the White House had recently hired for the job of “directing creator partnerships.” The way the White House created this role shows how far the industry has come in the past decade.
While brands act within the industry to contract and promote work, marketing agencies act outside of it. Because there is so much content out there, brands and marketers have created tools and practices to figure out who to work with. Some of the tools devalue queer people and people of color. Over time, internal and external pressures have led to a variety of other consequences, including the speeding up of production and marketing cycles, products increasingly made for short-term use, and minimized creative risk-taking related to the need to “do well” on social media.