Unilever CMO Keith Weed has taken a dig at fraudulent influencer marketing in a speech at Cannes Lions overnight.
During his presentation, Weed commented on the rising number of “bad apples” influencer marketing which have been “spoiling the barrel”.
For Weed, while influencers provide a strong service for brands, brands intern need to be more vigilant about who they work with and ensure an element of “authenticity” in the partnership.
“At Unilever, we believe influencers are an important way to reach consumers and grow our brands,” he said.
“Their power comes from a deep, authentic and direct connection with people, but certain practices like buying followers can easily undermine these relationships.
“Today we are announcing clear commitments to support and maintain the authenticity and trust of influencer marketing.”
As part of a bold new strategy to ward off fraudulent influencer marketing, Weed announced three measures which would be implemented by the ad giant.
- Transparency from Influencers: Unilever will not work with influencers who buy followers.
- Transparency from Brands: Unilever’s brands will never buy followers.
- Transparency from Platforms: Unilever will prioritise partners who increase transparency and help eradicate bad practices throughout the whole ecosystem.
For Weed, “The key to improving the situation is three-fold: cleaning up the influencer ecosystem by removing misleading engagement; making brands and influencers more aware of the use of dishonest practices and improving transparency from social platforms to help brands measure impact.
“We need to take urgent action now to rebuild trust before it’s gone forever.
“One of the ways we can do that is to increase integrity and transparency in the influencer space.
“We need to address this through responsible content, responsible platforms and responsible infrastructure,” he added.
Last year Unilever spent AU$12.1 billion on marketing, and according to Weed, “tens of millions” was spent on influencer marketing.
This is a number Weed predicts will grow.