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Logan Paul, Influencer 2018, & The New Flight To Safety For Brand Marketers

During the first 24 Hours of 2018 the noise in the marketing world has been deafening about the ultimate lapse in judgement made by YouTube megastar Logan Paul, who made many feel he sensationalized suicide in exchange for views in a now deleted video posted this past weekend that has gone viral for all the wrong reasons. (For which he has since apologized profusely about)

The reverberations of this story may have even deeper impact than some of 2017's now infamous influencer related missteps including the Fyre Festival disaster or former YouTube darling Pewtie Pie’s alleged links to anti-semetic content.

With over 15 Million subscribers Logan Paul is the poster child for the modern day YouTube star. Moreover he caters to an increasingly younger Gen Z audience both in demand to brand marketers and highly impressionable to graphic content as shown in this new ans now infamous video. To emphasize the somewhat ridiculous cross-over mainstream stardom of this self-made internet celebrity , last Summer Paul had a pop-up store which drew lines along the block.

Paul had also become a somewhat unlikely star with brand marketers over the last few years and has worked with top blue chips including Verizon, Nike, Dunkin’ Donuts and Pepsi in according to an AdWeek cover story from 2016.

I believe that increasing stories like these combined with Facebook’s recent platform changes making it much easier for both Facebook and Instagramto detect and potentially paywall the distribution of Influencer content will deconstruct our prior notions of Influencer marketing heading into the New Year

I believe in 2018 brands will learn in no uncertain terms thay:

  • Working with one celebrity with 100 millions fans is way safer and perhaps even more impactful now than working with 10 influencers each with 10 millions fans
  • The fan/follower count of “influencers” will continue to mean less in 2018 than in last years as Influencer marketing becomes an increasingly “pay to play” tactic (which I wrote about to great debate in 2017). In other words, the pendulum may shift back to real world fame > internet fame
  • Legal teams of big brands will become increasingly suspicious of Influencers that want creative control… those days may actually be coming to an end
  • The FTC will continue its vigilance in policing appropriate non-disclosure of brand affiliations heading into 2018 which means even more brand risk and scrutiny from legal departments

All of this spells trouble for the cottage industry of Influencer marketing in 2018 which has exploded in recent years.

This coming, I believe brands will pursue an accelerated flight to safety towards proven Hollywood stars, Grammy nominated performers, and marquee athletes. With the pending doom of Net Neutrality and censorship seeming to creep into all corners of American culture, I can’t say this is necessarily a good thing but it nonetheless looks to be the state of marketing in 2018


Happy new year everyone