A beauty influencer is sounding off on a trend she feels has gotten out of hand: big-name celebrity brands that offer free products, invites to fancy events and media exposure in exchange for sponsored content — but never a paycheck.
“These brands need to get it together!” wrote Janibell Brown (@janibellrosanne) in a recent viral TikTok. “Exposure and meet and greets DO NOT pay the bills. Pay influencers their rates or create the content yourself in-house.”
Though Brown didn’t name any names, she said it’s happening a lot with all the new celebrity brands coming to market lately.
And while she admits she loves free products as much as the next person, after working for the last six years as a full-time influencer, she finds it rather insulting that companies still expect her to work for free.
“There must be audacity in the air in 2023,” Brown told her followers before explaining that a recent email from a new celebrity skin care brand is what finally pushed her to speak out.
Apparently, the email informed Brown that the brand would send her free products to post about in exchange for the following “perks”: a possible repost from the celebrity name behind the brand, a brand ambassador opportunity and the chance for a meet-and-greet with the celeb in LA during their photoshoot for the new collection.
In addition, the person chosen to go to LA would be picked by the celebrity themself, which Brown says “is essentially more f****** promo for their f****** brand.”
So, to recap: Not only are they expecting an unboxing to be filmed, but they also want influencers to create exclusive content around the product for free.
But the cherry on top came at the end when Brown said the email listed one more stipulation: Due to the “exclusivity” of the brand launch and the events surrounding it, any influencer who agreed to participate would need to sign an agreement first.
“I can’t believe that in 2023 — with how much the influencer industry has grown and how much we’ve learned about it and how many people are making money and making a living out of this job — there’s still these brands that are coming at you sideways,” Brown concluded.
She says that even large, well-established brands are still trying to do this, and she simply doesn’t understand why they think she (or anyone else) would work for free.
In the comments, a lot of people were outraged right along with her.
“rich people being cheap will always be hilarious to me bc why are u stingy,” one person asked.
“The bigger the brand the bigger the scam!!” wrote another. “It’s always the ones making money that try to lowball me.”
Others felt she was being a bit too harsh.
“You have only for thousand followers, ” noted one person. “You are not an influencer You are just UGC content.”
“So what you’re saying is since you’re not getting paid you’re won’t do a positive review? ” asked someone else. “Good 2 u can’t be trusted.”
But others just chatted in the comments while leaving their best guesses as to who the mystery celeb was at the center of the email.
“Is it Vanessa Hudgen’s brand!?” one person asked. “Bc they sent me that same email.”
“I got the same Vanessa Hudgens email,” said another, adding that they immediately dumped it in the trash.
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