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Costa, Heineken and Coke promise to help close the influencer pay gap


By Jennifer Faull, Deputy Editor

May 3, 2022 | 4 min read

Major brands including Boots, Heineken, Johnson & Johnson, Costa and Coke have committed to better diversity, inclusion and representation in their influencer marketing activities, including closing the ethnicity pay gap.


Brands commit to closing influencer marketing’s pay gap

Discrimination within the influencer marketing space has been well-documented in the past few years, especially when it comes to payment.

In 2020 The Drum heard from several Black influencers, including Eulanda Osagiede and Stephanie Yeboah, about being paid less than their white counterparts by the ad industry. Influencer Atim Ojera revealed that a ’fast fashion’ brand told her that her £10,000 fee for 10 Instagram posts was ’impossible’ – despite it later emerging it had paid a white influencer, with fewer followers, twice as much.

A subsequent report into the pay gap from inclusive creator agency SevenSix found that 57% of influencers cite their ethnicity as a contributing factor in what they charge for brand partnerships. Some 37% said that their ethnicity had limited their earning potential.

At the time, the agency’s founder Charlotte Williams said the shocking statistics and experiences from influencers showed “a need and appetite for structure and process to support influencers when it comes to pricing.”

“For real progress to be made, we need all parts of the ecosystem – brands, agencies and influencers themselves – to work together,” she added.

Now, a total of 23 major advertisers and 13 talent agencies and influencers have given their backing to a revised code from Isba aimed at addressing this pay gap and improving diversity within their own teams.

The three new principles include:

  • Be allies in addressing the unacceptable pay gaps in influencer marketing, including those based on race and gender

  • Regularly audit the diversity of the pool of talent with which they work

  • Work to address diversity in their own marketing teams, to promote truly inclusive campaigns

It’s a new update to a code from Isba that first launched in September 2021 as a guide to best practice for brands, agencies and influencers working together.

Phil Smith, director-general of Isba, said that first iteration was well received, with advertisers including L’Oréal,, Pepsi and Tesco signing up to its recommendations.

“As an industry, we still have an enormous way to go in ensuring that we meet the highest standards in terms of representation in the ads audiences see, and the diversity of the teams who are creating the campaigns we ask influencers to work on,” said Smith on the new goals it has set.

“The number of brands and agencies [that] have agreed to join the second wave of Code signatories is hugely encouraging in this regard. We hope that we will begin truly to move the dial on diversity and inclusion. It is way past time to do so.”

Williams said she was pleased with the refreshed code and Isba’s push for change.

“The refreshed code of conduct is a practical guide for brands, agencies and influencers alike to ensure they are making the industry a more inclusive and representative space,” she added.

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