‘Sponsored Selfies’ Are Here

Everyone is officially a spokesperson now.

Today in things that we TOTALLY saw coming, people have finally commoditized the technique Kim Kardashian uses to make money on social media.

In case you want to lose a little bit of whatever faith you have left in humanity, influencer marketplace Tomoson has launched a feature by which brands “can invite influencers to post selfies to Instagram” and make the process easier by basically automating it for them.

Here’s the dashboard:


…and here’s the end result via makeup influencer Maria Isabel-Gridley:

selfies 2

On the one hand, this sort of thing was inevitable. It formalizes a practice that already happens all over social media while potentially eliminating the sort of ethical quandary that comes from brands and/or influencers not revealing the nature of their (paid) relationships.

On the other hand, the commercialization of something so supposedly intimate is a little…disconcerting. Everyone’s a spokesperson now, and there’s not a damn thing “organic” about it.

And yet. In a post on The Guardian last week, brand marketing expert Paul Armstrong of the excellent @themediaisdying feed writes that brands often shy away from using selfies in campaigns because “many dismiss them as simple narcissism” and, in doing so, display a sort of contempt for their own customers.

Here’s another pitch we got this week:

selfies 3

They almost look like…nope, we won’t go there.

Maybe we all need to stop behaving like the carmudgeons we are and just accept the new reality. As Armstrong puts it:

“Brands have to stop thinking selfies are for young people who have identity issues or a way of simply adding volume to campaigns, and start looking for the next generation of brand storytellers. There is a world of creativity out there if you stop to look for it.”

He’s right, we guess. Carly Simon even wrote a song about it.