Those of us who have worked for “exposure” know that, typically, the only thing we get out of the whole experience is being “exposed” to how the real world works and realizing that working for free is often a bad way to build a career, let alone earn a living.
But that doesn’t stop people from thinking that they have something you don’t and that often amounts to some kind of access to a secret cachet in society that will open up doors for you professionally. Or some nonsense along those lines. And, though this isn’t the first story we’ve featured about them, it seems like no one is worse for asking for free stuff than so-called “influencers” – aka people with an often moderately large following of bots on Instagram that think hotels, resorts, restaurants, and everything in between should cater to their needs.
Two influencers hired a PR rep who apparently approached UK-based photographers Frankie Lowe and Laura Dunning of Betrothed & Co with the deal of a lifetime: Provide us with 1,000 photographs and two wedding videos, for free, and we’ll advertise your services to our followers with a 25% discount. Ouch. There’s just so much going on in that offer that I don’t have time for in this short article. Well, as Frankie Lowe and Laura Dunning point out, the discount isn’t something they’re cool with as it “cheapens” their services and, further, there’s a little more to advertising and quid pro quo marketing than that. The soon-to-be-married couple even added in their inquiry letter, “Just so you’re aware, we have approached four other similar businesses in your area, so a fast response will be beneficial to your business.”
How many followers are we talking about for these “influencers?” Some 50,000 people according to various news reports. Needless to say, the photographers’ response left no room for misinterpretation.
They point out in their response, “As I’m sure you probably know, 55,000 is not usually the level of following which can command the free transfer of products worth between £3,000-£4,000 in total, especially when you take into account bots, duplicate accounts, and the types of followers who are not our target audience.” But what about that discount? They responded to that as we all should: “It’s helpful to know that in advance that being linked with your client will automatically knock 25% off the perceived value of the product we have spent so many years honing.”
The PR rep did not take kindly to this strongly worded and tongue-in-cheek reply and threatened to “name and shame” the photographers if they continued to assert that they should be paid market rates for their work. The PR rep even referenced one of the clients’ mothers as having cancer or something though it isn’t know what effect this information was intended to have.
You can read the whole exchange here.
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