Former Love Island contestant Ekin-Su has been dropped as the face of fashion retailer Oh Polly just 6 months into the biggest clothing deal in Love Island history. The £1 million deal was born amidst a bidding war following her success on the reality show, which saw her become the most sought-after islander of all time.
On launching her own range of clothing through the site towards the end of last year, Ekin-Su described the partnership as ‘a real pinch-me moment’. The swift departure may have come as a surprise to some fans and onlookers, yet a quick review of her online fanbase makes it clear just why the collaboration was doomed from the start.
According to influencer analytics tool Tagger Media, only 16.03% of Ekin-Su’s online followers are ‘authentic’ (meaning nearly 84% of them are fake). Of these, 62.42% are male and over 66% live in India, Brazil, or Turkey. Assuming this isn’t the audience that Oh Polly is trying to reach, it’s worth questioning why an established brand would neglect to conduct a basic analysis of the influencer’s audience demographics before embarking on such an exorbitant deal.
Love Island contestants are a popular choice for brands to partner with following their stay in the villa, but consumer interest in these contestants tends to peak and then fall shortly after leaving the island. That’s not to say Love Island stars are never the right fit for an influencer campaign (the success of Molly-Mae Hague’s ongoing collaboration with PrettyLittleThing speaks for itself) but there is more to securing successful talent deals than simply teeing up the celebrity flavour of the hour and stuffing their mouth with gold.
It goes without saying that a level of due diligence is required to ensure any potential influencer partner has an online following that aligns with your target customer base, and this information really isn’t hard to come by. GRIN, Modash, and Upfluence (to name but a few) are just a few of the tools that exist to help brands recruit the right influencers for their campaigns. As well as providing comprehensive demographic breakdowns, these platforms give an indication of an influencer’s authentic engagement rate ([likes + comments]/total followers * 100), which typically should sit around or above the 3% mark.
We are used to seeing influencer campaigns blow up due to the damaged reputation of an influencer (like the troubling content of PewdiePie), non-disclosure (Katie Price in the Snickers blunder), or just for being completely tone-deaf (Kendall Jenner and Pepsi Black Lives Matter controversy), and it’s not uncommon for brands to confuse an influencer’s follower account with an audience that’s genuinely interested in their content. But in a media channel with so much potential for things to go wrong, it’s imperative that brands do not negate the basics, especially with significant partnerships such as these.