Rash of bad publicity for Kate Moss?


Issue #137 | Your reading time this week is 6 mins. 15 secs.

Welcome back to the Creator Briefing.

Here’s just some of what I’ve been thinking about this week:

  • 41% of Gen Alphas view influencers positively. Just 15% view influencers unfavourably. 

  • Cancel culture calling to “Bud Light Doritos”

  • TikTok tops engagement rates despite 50% drop

  • Misinformation (Mossinformation) Kate Moss says her cream cures eczema. The NHS says it doesn’t

  • Talent agencies consolidate

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News In Brief

TikTok is under threat in the U.S. with calls for the Chinese app to either close in America or sell to a U.S. company. The Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications bill passed unanimously out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on a bipartisan vote of 50 to zero. Is the threat to TikTok real? The act is a long way from being passed. By calling for a ban politicians look like they’re doing something. Banning the app would risk a backlash from younger voters, though. 

✅$60 billion+ has been wiped off Meta’s market valuation after Donald Trump called Facebook “a true Enemy of the People!” last Thursday. 

✅Facebook wants more creators posting engaging photo, text and video posts. The Meta-owned company has removed the restrictions limiting payouts amounts to creators. The catch? You have to be a creator on programme. 

Axios has run a great piece explaining how Meta’s image makers have given Mark Zuckerberg a make over from uber geek to regular Joe. Don’t be fooled says Engadget - Meta has never been in more trouble. 

✅TikTok has launched a monthly Trends Digest where it plans to share  the tools marketers need to produce thumb-stopping content that will drive impact across the funnel.

✅Beauty brand, Tarte, organised another brand trip for some influencers. 30 social media influencers fly via private jet to Bora Bora. Some have condemned that trip as being out-of-touch. The ROI appears to support the extravagant creator trip, however. 

Ketchum is bringing its creator partnerships, celebrity sponsorships, and branded entertainment capabilities together in a new specialist division called Emanate. 

✅Captiv8 has launched a new Creator Storefronts product, which allows creators to make shopping recommendations to users and earn a commission. 


#AD SUMO are Influencer Marketing and Talent Management recruiters. If you work within the Creator Economy and would like to expand your team, or if you’re seeking a new opportunity, we would love to hear from you. Visit: www.sumo.london

Gen Alpha’s influencer-viewing habits

A new report from Morning Consult examines what content Gen Alpha is watching online, how long they’re watching it each day and on the device type they’re watching on. 

  • Half of Gen Alphas are streaming video daily That includes the youngest Alpha cohort, age 0-4. 

  • Half (49%) of 8-to-10 year olds use social media for up to two hours per day. Whilst a further 8% use it for more than 4 hours per day. 

  • Tablets are universal: 49% of Alphas own one rising to 58% of 8-10 year olds. But Alphas spend the most time on desktop computers and VR headsets. 

  • YouTube and Disney+ are Alpha’s platforms of choice 60% and 54% of Alphas use YouTube and Disney+, respectively.

  • 41% of Gen Alphas view influencers positively. Just 15% view influencers unfavourably. 

Doritos, the transgender influencer, offence archaeology and organised cancel culture calling to “Bud Light Doritos”

Doritos Spain recently published an Instagram video featuring influencer Samatha Hudson.

The collab was a 50-second, one-off Reel - not part of an ongoing ambassador campaign as some media outlets have reported. 

There was an immediate online backlash. The following day the post was taken-down and Hudson was dropped from the campaign. 

Backlash followed resurfacing of unsavoury and inappropriate Tweets from nearly a decade ago in 2015 when Hudson was 15 years old minor.  

Later that year Samantha Hudson, then known as Iván González Ranedo, transitioned from male to non-binary transgender female and changed her name.

The near-decade old Tweets resurfaced due to an organised, concerted effort in weaponizing offence archaeology by right-wing conservatives. 

“Bud Light Doritos” urged far-right X (formerly Twitter) account Libs of TikTok. “You know what to do. #BoycottDoritos. Make it trend” called  End Wokeness another X account - this time with 2.3m followers. 

Hudson in turn took to X to post a response, stating: “I take responsibility for what I wrote but I can't help but also express how unfair it seems to me that a person is being judged in such an exorbitant way for some publications he made 9 years ago when he was still a minor.”

Click-bait headlines hurting LGBT+ careers

The reporting of this - now global - story by mainstream media and industry press has often used “transgender influencer” in their headlines. 

“The influencer being transgender is not the reason the brand cut ties, but it will certainly drive more clicks, more ignorant/angry responses, and then more clicks” wrote marketing expert Joe Maceda on LinkedIn.

The headlines might make advertisers think twice about partnering with LGBT+ influencers on future campaigns. One commenter adding such headlines are “providing fuel for transphobes already prejudiced against them and reducing the perceived brand safety of collaborations with LGBT+ influencers”.

Digital due diligence

The backlash does beg the question of how much digital due diligence a brand should undertake when determining whether an influencer is a best fit for their brand.

In this case the offending Tweets were nine years old. More recently Hudson won Best Spanish Artist at the 2023 MTV Europe Music Awards, following the success of her three albums.

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TikTok tops engagement rates despite 50% drop

TikTok engagement rates have dropped by about 50% this year BUT with a median engagement rate of 2.63%, they still performed better than any other channel by a country mile. 

The median engagement on an Instagram post across all industries surveyed is 0.43%. These are the findings from Rival IQ and its 2024 annual Social Media Industry Benchmark Report. 

But, influencers earned 3x the median engagement rate on Facebook and nearly 2x the median on Instagram this year. These creators also finished above the median on Twitter but a little behind the curve on TikTok.

Rival IQ found that post frequency increased a little on Instagram and TikTok while decreasing on Facebook  and Twitter. 

Post frequency holding up in terms of volume is interesting and runs counter to other industry analysis - including from the Wall Street Journal which reported in December that “Excessive ads, bots and misinformation have sucked the fun out of sharing publicly” resulting in fewer posts. 

Rival IQ analysed 1.9m Facebook posts, 1.8m Instagram posts, 800k Tweets and 373k TikTok videos. 

Instagram’s algorithm in action

@thingsihavedrawn ‘A driving robot with arms made of fur. It’s moving so fast, the wheels are a blur’.

Organic reach on Instagram has halved across the last three years from 0.98% in 2020 to 0.43% in 2023 according to Rival IQ (see above). 

Tom Curtis, executive creative director at Mediacom by day and creator of ‘Things I have drawn’ by night explains how the throttling of organic reach on Instagam has negatively impacted his award-winning work which counts 963k followers on Instagram: 

“Throughout most of 2020, every time I posted on my @thingsihavedrawn Instagram account, I could predict, within one minute, how well it would do. 1,000 likes in that first 60 seconds would mean the post would head north of 70,000 likes. 700 likes, and I’d be looking at more like forty or fifty thousand,” says Curtis is a recent LinkedIn post.  

“Fast forward four years, and when I post now, despite having nearly a million followers, I’ll usually watch it dribble to about 500 likes - not in a minute, but in an hour”, Curtis laments. 

He blames Instagram reducing organic reach and promoting quantity over quality. “Basically, the algorithm is penalising me because I’m not glued to Instagram, posting shit all the time.”

Talent agencies consolidate

Talent agencies run on tight margins; the need for personal relationships between talent and talent manager mean they’re hard to scale, too.

Gleam Futures closed its talent arm earlier this year - others will follow. However, some talent agencies have sensed an opportunity and are snapping up smaller peers.

Agencies to watch, according to Chris Erwin, M&A and strategy advisory for creator economy investment shop RockWater Industries:

Princess of Wales photo: How image manipulation can erode trust

Speculation about the health of the Princess of Wales and the health of her marriage with the future king has varied from the mischievous to the macabre in 2024. 

Sunday’s photo upload of HRH Kate Middleton surrounded by her three children was supposed to serve as a heartwarming Mother's Day post, and offer reassurance to us that all is well physically and institutionally. 

But passing off a photoshopped image, no matter how well meaning “sets a terrible example in a time of snowballing alternative facts, #misinformation and #AI during an election year,” argues Dr Carolina Are, a postdoctoral researcher focusing on platform governance.

Crisis communications expert, Amanda Coleman says that if you use AI to adapt or manipulate a photography you should be upfront about it explaining “openness and honesty remain two important elements of the foundation to successful communication and effective crisis communication.”

In a post-truth era where AI can produce a liar’s dividend and where Donald Trump supporters are targeting black voters with disinformation, including AI-generated fake images of the former president it’s important that institutions can set themselves apart as being trustworthy. That goes for whether your institution is trying to sell toothpaste, luxury watches or soft power. 

“Once you are seen to be guilty of manipulation, hiding information or trying to airbrush situations there is a long road back to regain trust. Everything you issue will be questioned and will have an air of suspicion around it”, warns Coleman.

Portugal issues influencer guidelines following ‘sweep’

Portugal is the latest ‘taxi off the rank’ to undertake an influencer sweep. The European country follows in the footsteps of Spain and Italy both of which recently conducted influencer content spot checks. 

Auto Regulação Publicitária, Portugal’s ad regulator, presented the results last week and reminded marketers and creators of the country’s influencer marketing guidelines. 

You can view the original version of the guidelines in Portuguese (obvs). Or, opt for the English version translated via AI. 

Swedish startup aims to help creators pay their tax on gifted product

A Swedish start up hopes to end both creators tax avoidance on received gifted products and raise industry sustainability by eliminating the waste from unwanted brand gifts to creators. 

Venture Sight claims it’ll be able to stop the problem of unwanted gifting by only allowing products that the influencer has approved in advance. 

Influencers must pay tax on the products and services they receive from companies in Sweden, yet many influencers fail to register these with the tax authorities. With Venture Sight Influencers will be able to store their company information or log themselves as employees, to ensure correct tax payment.

Global Top 30 Leading Women in the Creator Economy

Hello Partner, the industry media outlet and company behind the Influencer Marketing Show has published its list of Global Top 30 Leading Women in the Creator Economy.

Research by Sumo in partnership with the Influencer Marketing Trade Body shows that in the UK 72% of influencer marketers working inhouse, at agencies or at influencer platforms are female. 

Rash of bad publicity for Kate Moss

Kate Moss says her Golden Nectar skin product cures eczema, psoriasis and a range of other skin conditions. Not so, says the NHS whose experts contend there is no cure for eczema or psoriasis.

Prof Sir Stephen Powis, the NHS’s top doctor, told The Telegraph that influencers selling “wellness products” without any evidence “had a duty of care to the public” and should “avoid spreading myths and misinformation online”.

It’s not solely the public that these influencers have a duty of care to. They must also stay on the right side of regulators. 

If Golden Nectar is a medicine, Moss need to obtain the appropriate licence and marketing authorisation before selling or marketing that medicinal product in the UK. Here’s what the ASA says about medicinal claims.

H/T to Andy Barr, CEO of 10 Yetis Digital for pointing me to this story. 

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