Digital Advertising Agency

Covid-19 has made us look to the everyday heroes rather than Instagram's influencers

By Rob Mathie | Founder

On the One


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July 17, 2020 | 4 min read

Could it be that ‘influencer marketing’ is coming to a crossroads? Post-Covid-19, consumers, media and eventually brands will have pause for thought about what truly constitutes fame and influence. When Grazia chose to profile NHS workers on the frontline across multiple covers, it felt representative of a crucial shift. And that’s going to spill over into the kind of stories brands are going want to tell and – ultimately – where they want to spend.

The last few years have seen a saturation of the ‘reach and celebrity status trumps all’ approach, which has undoubtedly been a driving force in the malaise of influencer culture. With so much consumer spend shifting online, there is still going to be a demand for frictionless e-commerce solutions to mass market influencer campaigns. However this can and should be balanced out with relatable, more authentic storytelling, rooted in real life.

From the decline in high street shopping to the ‘new normal’ of working from home, lockdown life has seen a lot of existing trends and behavioural shifts go into hyper-drive. Many of these may be irreversible and have profound and often challenging consequences on many sectors. But they do represent a real opportunity for voices that can connect with our new way of living. And the metrics really speak to this shift - we’ve been monitoring engagement from key influencer accounts and the numbers stack up. Joe Wicks’ PE workout on YouTube is an obvious example and we’re now seeing everyone from NHS Nightingale nurses to food blogger and campaigner Jack Monroe enjoy an increase in engagement. It’s easy to see why. Jack’s Good Food for Bad Days rings true to her roots as a struggling single mother cooking on budget, but the ‘depressipes’ in her latest book feel just as apt for the uncertain times in which we live today.

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On The One considers why the everyday heroes are more relatable and appealing to us during COVID.

On The One considers why the everyday heroes are more relatable and appealing to us during COVID.

On the subject of high street shopping, when Mary Portas talks about the ‘kindness economy’ going mainstream this echoes some of the work we’ve been doing in the inclusivity space. For Smirnoff, our LGBT Foundation partnership was founded on their nightlife safety initiative Soho Angels.

Although part of a wider star-studded campaign, we quickly found that it was the relatable, everyday stories of the Angels’ weekend volunteers that really connected with press, media partners and consumers. Social media has had a similar moment in the #BeKind movement, and there’s an urgency for this sentiment to start translating to new client briefs. I have a feeling we’ll be toasting even more of these inspiring everyday heroes in 2020.

Rob Mathie, founder at On The One.

Digital Advertising Agency

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