When Influencers Go Bad – Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop

Jun 29, 2017
Mark Fidelman
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Influencers have never been “one size fits all.” It’s not just a matter of different audiences, either. Sure, brands need influencers with audiences that align with their own target consumers, but brands also need influencers who share their values, their image, and to some extent their voice.

This cuts both ways. Brands don’t want their images muddied or tarnished by the wrong influencers, and influencers don’t want their influence diminished by representing the wrong brands. Just ask Kendall Jenner how she feels about the Fyre Festival. And sometimes, brands and influencers change directions, which might call for a parting of the ways.

If you need any evidence of that, look no further than Gwyneth Paltrow’s most recent social media debacle.

Gwynnie, as she is apparently known by some, has been an influencer in the whole foods, fashion, soccer moms, and 24k sex toy spaces for years. She and her blog/shop/”brand” Goop are popular destinations for a variety of higher-end consumers, and she’s attracted plenty of other brands who want to glom on to Goop and Gwyn’s success. But while she’s made many dubious claims about her products and health/lifestyle practices in the past, this time she might have stepped into outright fraud.

A set of “energy stickers” made by Body Vibes and sold on by Goop claim to be made from NASA-engineered material, with proprietary technology that aligns your electrons for optimal health and performance, or some similar bullsh*t. NASA’s already lodged a complaint, and consumer watchdogs are foaming at the mouth. It’s just the latest in a long string of ridiculousness from Goop, but because the brand makes actual healing claims this could turn into a big deal.

The point, of course, isn’t just Gwyneth bashing (though that’s sorta fun). It’s taking a step back and asking: if you were a brand aligned with Gwyneth Paltrow, and you found out she was backing these bogus and potentially fraudulent energy stickers, would you want to keep your brand/influencer relationship going? Beyond the legal and ethical concerns, would you want your customers to think that you approved of Body Vibes’ snake oil?

There may come a time when your influencer strategy needs a second look. When your brand and/or your influencer has moved in a direction that makes the relationship less than desireable. So pay attention to what’s happening with the people and companies you’re aligned with, and don’t be shy about making a change when it’s needed.

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