Bad Influence?

25. October 2019, Editorial

“I always look at the world like I'm discovering it for the first time. I enjoy every minute,” explains the 98-year-old fashion icon Iris Apfel in the first of the two films for the global


better than their reputation

“Never Stop Playing”

The footage of the Magnum campaign has been available for everyone to see at Magnum Pleasure Stores worldwide, on Instagram and all of the other social media channels out there. Produced in glorious technicolour by the fashion photographers Mert Alas and Marcus Pigott, it is what the Unilever ice cream brand is calling its most playful campaign to date – the #NeverStopPlaying hashtag says it all, really.

(…) “98 years of age, a fashion icon, entrepreneur and modern muse – a woman who is never afraid to break rules and norms,” explains Magnum in its blurb. Iris Apfel is the perfect choice, not least because she has 1.3 million followers on Instagram alone. Which neatly leads us to the oft-discussed topic of influencer marketing. While top models and glamorous film stars were once given the job of sending sales figures through the roof, it is now people like me and you who are out there advertising cosmetics, fashion and health eating. And they’re people from all age groups.

Influencers play
a significant role

Although influencers can be used to precisely target certain audiences at much lower costs (assuming the really big names already have other commitments, that is), for many, it all leaves something of a bitter taste in the mouth. Influencers play a significant role, particularly for younger demographics. Too big a role, according to the majority of Germans who were canvassed in a survey conducted by German market researchers YouGov. de in July. Respondents in the 18-34 age bracket felt that influencers had too big an influence (65 percent), an opinion shared by the majority of Germans over the age of 35. Interestingly, scepticism tailed off slightly with age. In a nutshell, it was younger people – i.e. the age group exposed most heavily to influencers – who were most critical of them.

This would also appear to put paid to the assumption that there is some kind of generational conflict going on between those who navigate the digital world so effortlessly as they have never known anything else, and those who cannot – or refuse to – get to grips with the internet.

“Influencer marketing is only for millennials.” It’s a commonly heard assertion in the industry. But the 50+ generation is an extremely important target audience. They have time, and usually money, too. And they are taking the digital world by storm. According to Statistics Austria their numbers are growing all the time. Some call them “best agers”. Demographic forecasts predict that the over-65s will make up fully 29% of the Austrian population by 2080. But the 50+ age group already has considerable economic clout. And not just when it comes to topics typically associated with old age, as illustrated by the example of Iris Apfel. 1.3 million subscribers follow her everyday life on Instagram, love her out-there outfits and see just how she enjoys every minute of her life. The very definition of a role model at work.

A new type of influence

The adult heroes and heroines of everyday life are much more authentic and credible than their younger online colleagues. So it is a brand new opportunity for brands: leaving tired old clichés behind and showing a little more sensitivity all round. When used in the right way, influencers are far better than their reputation!

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