Influencer Marketing

By: Victoria Price

Social media has completely changed the advertising and public relations game and continues to do so every day. In 2019, social media users spent an average of 1 hour and 14 minutes per day on social media (eMarketer). With that being said, it comes as no surprise that influencer marketing has taken over the industry for brand and product promotion. Influencer marketing is a form of social media marketing that focuses on individuals who are perceived to be opinion-leaders and have a connected, trusting relationship with the target audience. Brands or companies will pay these social media influencers to endorse their product or service to their followers.

Influencer marketing has proved to be very effective and beneficial to most marketers. It provides the advantage of reaching both a broad and niche audience, depending on the category of content the influencer falls under, like fashion, beauty, fitness, etc. and the number of followers they have. 80% of marketers say that influencer marketing is effective and 89% say that return-on-investment is comparable to or better than other marketing channels, with companies earning approximately $6.50 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing (“Influencer Marketing Study,” 2019).

Influencer marketing isn’t necessarily about using influencers with the biggest reach or largest following to promote a brand. Micro-influencers, those who have somewhere between 1,000 and 50,000 followers, tend to generate more engagement than mega-influencers like Kim Kardashian, for example, who has 160 million followers. Micro-influencers are a great way to reach a more niche, targeted audience and tend to be more connected to their followers. Google, for example, worked with two micro-influencers to promote their new Pixelbook laptop. The influencers, @thesorrygirls on Instagram, ran a giveaway contest for the Pixelbook and generated an engagement rate of 59.4%. They had less than 100,000 followers at the time (“20 Killer Examples of Influencer Marketing,” n.d.).

This form of marketing is so important now because consumers are becoming very hard to reach with traditional digital advertising. 66% of consumers are “overwhelmed by too many online marketing messages” and 20% of them “would boycott a brand because of excessive ads” (“What is Influencer Marketing?” 2019). Brands need to share their message and it seems that doing so through a trusted, more authentic source is the answer. Influencers are typically trusted by their followers and they will value their opinion and promotion of a brand or product more than they value traditional, faceless marketing.

While influencer marketing provides many advantages for brands, it doesn’t come without disadvantages. One of the most well-known event/campaign failures to date, Fyre Festival, is a great (or not so great) example. Fyre Festival was a fraudulent music festival in which many mega-influencers, like Kendall Jenner, were paid copious amounts of money to promote the event and get people to buy tickets. In the end, people showed up to the event located in the middle of nowhere and found it to be nothing like the promotions claimed and not even 25% of the tickets ended up being sold. This failed promotion shows that lack of transparency and low engagement from mega-influencers can be disastrous for a brand. Many brands have taken note from this disaster and are less willing to pay influencers solely based on follower count and that “more thoughtful approaches to campaigns [will] better harness the power of influencer marketing” (“No, Fyre Fest Wasn’t an Influencer Marketing Success,” 2019).

I can personally attribute a lot of the products I have purchased to influencer marketing. I follow a lot of influencers, both micro and macro, on Instagram and YouTube, and have found myself buying products they have promoted, even though I probably wouldn’t have bought them otherwise. I don’t see this form of marketing going anywhere anytime soon and I think it’s safe to make the prediction that more brands will continue to invest in influencer marketing for years to come.


20 Killer Examples of Influencer Marketing. (n.d.). Retrieved March 11, 2020, from

eMarketer. (June 10, 2019). Average daily time spent on social networks by users in the United States from 2015 to 2021 (in hours.minutes) [Graph]. In Statista. Retrieved February 21, 2020, from

Influencer Marketing Study. (2019, December 9). Retrieved February 21, 2020, from

No, Fyre Festival Wasn’t an Influencer Marketing Success (and Other Lessons from a Disaster). (2019, January 31). Retrieved February 21, 2020, from ess-and-other-lessons-from-a-disaster/.

What is Influencer Marketing?: Read The Ultimate Guide. (2019, November 13). Retrieved February 21, 2020, from

By: Taylor Giles

In an era where more college students value inclusivity over free speech, something needs to be done to protect the First Amendment (Giles).

Today’s college students are tomorrow’s industry leaders. Creating a space where the First Amendment can thrive will condition future leaders to place more value on the five rights the government has pledged to protect. After all, the entire advertising industry relies on the freedom of the press and freedom of speech outlined in the First Amendment.

Sadly, these statistics are not just isolated to college campuses. Society is rapidly valuing inclusivity over free speech; if the person agrees with the majority.

Twitter and Facebook have both come under fire for giving a platform for users to purchase ad space for advertisements that are not factually accurate. Twitter has even pledged to ban all political advertising ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

Facebook is well known for stifling speech, especially in the firearm and self-defense industry. Gun shops across the country have fallen victim to their ads being pulled simply because the company is trying to advertise firearms (Briggs).

Twitter and Facebook have consistently hidden their liberty limiting policies under the guise of “fact-checking” by ensuring that false information is not spread throughout the world. But spreading false information is not inherently illegal. Only when that information incites violence does it then constitute a violation of the law (Holmes).

Following Supreme Court precedent, political speech is even more protected than commercial speech. And with account usage at an all-time high on social media, how can these organizations get away with banning political ads?

One side of the argument believes that because Facebook and Twitter are private organizations the companies have the ability to restrict speech on their sites.

However, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals does not agree. The court has ruled that Twitter and Facebook act as the “town square” that the founders originally implied with the creation of the First Amendment. There are too many users on social media for the platforms to be considered private organizations in the usual sense (Richards vs City of Petersburg). In other words, the legal principles are still the same, but the technology for which they are applied have changed over time.

In fact, the National Association of Attorneys General have also issued a statement, saying that people cannot be blocked by public accounts online because everyone has the right to be on social media (Kane). 

So, who is right and who is wrong?

The problem with government, and in particular the court system, is that it moves at a snail’s pace. The advertising industry will likely not be given a final answer to this political question for years to come. Litigation takes time and so does legislation.

The First Amendment is one of the cornerstones on which the pillars of American society rest. Without it, America’s democratic republic collapses. With the First Amendment, we protect interests of minorities and majorities across the nation to ensure everyone has a voice.

As a society and an industry, we must ensure the longevity and importance of the First Amendment for generations to come. We must do this by ensuring that everyone has a voice and can heard; the entire advertising industry is built around the freedoms protected in the First Amendment. 


Briggs, P. (2 March 2018). Is Facebook Blocking Posts About Guns? Retrieved from

Holmes, K. (22 October 2018). The Origins of “Hate Speech”. The Heritage Foundation. Retrieved from

Kane, B. (n.d.) Social Media is the New Town Square: The Difficulty in Blocking Access to Public Accounts. National Association of Attorneys General. Retrieved from

Giles, T. (15 February 2019). Inclusivity on Campus. Lone Conservative. Retrieved from

Richards v. City of Petersburg. 15-2207. United States 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. 2016. FindLaw. Retrieved from

By: Mery Diaz

This decade brings in new trends to the ever-changing world of social media as it continues to connect with people in different ways. As someone who wants to continue in the media industry by working with social media, it is important to keep up to date with trends. That way the brand or company you work with does not fall through the cracks with their target audience.

Social media has changed into a platform that has been embedded in the common person’s everyday life. As people change, so does social media and it is key to understand why a trend has become a trend and then hopefully adapt to it.

 I would like to share some of the most common ones, that even though we are just a few months into this year, we have already seen some influential trends pop up on many channels. 

One trend that isn’t going anywhere soon is video content. Video content cannot be escaped; it’s guaranteed if users scroll through any social media platform, there will be video content there. It might be from a brand you follow, a quick advertisement, or even from a fellow friend. This trend is so popular, because users love to get their content quick and in an engaging way yet visually pleasing.

Video is a way to share information that is wrapped up in a bow for you to unpack and can be enjoyed with others at any given time. You can see that many brands have figured this out and continue to take advantage of this trend. 

Another trend in the spotlight is showcasing your audience on your social media. Many brands already do this because it bumps up engagement. Users want to see themselves in the content you provide. For example, if a teenage clothing brand posts a picture with someone who is an average college student that wears that brand’s clothing, their target audience will be more willing to buy if they see someone like them buying the brand’s clothing. Keep in mind these users also want to stay on trend too. 

The last trend that comes to mind that has been the main trend to look out for is brands making more private engagement with their consumers through social media. Brands want to keep creating more meaningful audiences yet in exclusive settings. I think why the tiny change of adding private messaging from brand to user and why it will click easily is because audiences love the sense of exclusivity and feeling like they are being attended to. Also, I think slowly people want more private engagement on social media instead of public all the time. But it’s not just messaging, as mentioned in this SproutSocial’s article, that features like Instagram threads and Facebook Group marketing make the trend of private engagement more “ exclusive club” like.

These trends are the ones to look for this year, as they continue to shape how we communicate and connect. As we move forward into a future that is filled with new digital and social innovation as users, consumers, and marketers, we need to adapt to social media’s high standards that change every year. 


Social Media Trends 2020 Video. (2020) Retrieved from:

Barnhart, B. (2020, January 06). 9 Social Media Trends to Watch in 2020. Retrieved from:

Patel, D. (2019, December 20). 12 Social Media Trends to Watch in 2020. Retrieved from:

By: Nadine Worrell

Success in the agency world comes from staying on top of the newest industry trends and creating work that resonates with your audience. Get your audience talking during 2020 by finding the perfect balance between emotional appeal and facts or data. 

AdAge quotes Jalilia Levesque, Head of Group Communications and PR, FF said, “PR strategy must be driven by emotion and have that human element in order to be more meaningful and lead to a growing focus on expert, local and enthusiastic micro-influencers, instead of macro-influencers.” (30, A. A. S. (2019, October 22). With the continuing growth of social media platforms- therefore more competition, it’s important for agencies to keep both their clients and their mission relatable. While the statistical measurability of a campaign is always important, what’s really going to stand out to the audience is the emotional appeal. 

Agency’s need to distinguish themselves in the digital world, rather than just be another image people scroll past on Instagram. The world is full of technology, but humans are still human so combining research and facts with an emotional story can transcend a campaign or brand. An article from CommuniquePR stated, “emotional appeal can help start the conversation, but it can only get you so far” (Emotional Intelligence: Why it Matters to PR Pros. (2018, June 26). Agencies can better campaigns by finding ways to reach people from all aspects. Once figuring out the intended target audience and gathering facts, agencies can look for ways to gain emotional appeal from the audience. Knowing your audience should go deeper than demographics, relatability is key.  

So how can agencies combine emotions and facts in a successful way? The 2020 Google Super Bowl LIV commercial is a strong example of how powerful utilizing both aspects can be. This commercial highlights how useful Google’s tools are with storing information, photos, notes, etc. and combined it with a beautiful story following an elderly couple’s life together. That emotional spin is a prime example of how utilizing facts and emotions can generate mass amounts of attention. This commercial currently has 61,974,296 views in counting on YouTube (Google. (2020, January 28). 

Budweiser also successfully combined brand promotion with emotional advertising in their 2014 commercial, Someone Waits for You at Home, Don’t Drink and Drive campaign. The video focuses on the sentimental bond between a man and his dog and emphasizes that there is someone waiting for you at home, “make a plan to make it home, your friends are counting on you” ( (2014, September 22). Budweiser was able to promote their brand while also using an emotional story line to make a powerful PSA about drinking and driving. 

During 2020 agencies should look at how effective campaigns like these are for future work references. Facts and information don’t have to be delivered in robotic ways just because we live in a world full of technology. Using human connection and realistic stories result in engaging and impactful materials. Add that missing piece to your campaign by introducing emotion and promotion to your brand!

References (2014, September 22). Someone Waits for You at Home, DON’T DRINK & DRIVE | Budweiser Ads. Retrieved from

Emotional Intelligence: Why it Matters to PR Pros. (2018, June 26). Retrieved from

Google. (2020, January 28). Loretta | Google Super Bowl Commercial 2020. Retrieved from

30, A. A. S. (2019, October 22). Amp spotlight: Top PR trends to watch in 2020. Retrieved February 16, 2020, from

By: Zachary Schwehm

Social media consumes the lives of many young Americans, and athletes have long been attached to that as well. The talents of all professional athletes are shown on a global scale. When a team in Major League Baseball wins the World Series, people all around the world are watching and sharing it all across Twitter and Instagram within seconds. Both teams and their athletes have millions of followers, making it possible for their posts to reach heights that nobody could have predicted possible 20 years ago. 

Cristiano Ronaldo, a Portuguese soccer player currently has the most followers of any single person on Instagram with 204 million followers. He is also the only Instagram user with an account that has surpassed 200 million followers so far. Athletes at that level use their platforms not only for sharing about their sport; but also sharing about their families, where they are traveling, and posting commercials and advertisements of their sponsors. Another globally known soccer star, Lionel Messi who currently plays in Barcelona, shared a Spanish Pepsi commercial he was in and it got nearly five million views in 24 hours. Athletes with large followings, especially when promoting during sporting events can bring a large amount of attention and generate a lot of sales for that brand.

Athletes have also been using social media to reach out during serious events. In January, when basketball legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gigi Bryant tragically passed away in a helicopter accident, social media halted and everything turned to Kobe. Athletes from all around the world took to Twitter and Instagram to share their personal stories about Kobe and weren’t shy about displaying their emotions in a public setting. That event changed the perspective on how some athletes are viewed both on and off the field. Some athletes have a stigma of being larger than life and have the appearance of being on top of the world, but their postings about Kobe and other social issues showed the lighter side of them. It makes them human.

Getting shared on social media has also gotten athletes in trouble in the past. Lebron James, a professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers, talked in an interview about his teammates being “distracted”. This came at a bad time for James because at that time his upcoming movie “Space Jam 2” was being just being announces. This negative attention was the last thing he needed. This is an example of how even athletes are under the spotlight for things they say and post, no matter how small.  The younger generations get told what they can and cannot post for how it might affect future career options. The fact that professional athletes are under the same spotlight as that generation is remarkable. Every person in their respected sport is under pressure to keep a clean image and to keep out of the news for any unnecessary acts. All press is not necessarily good press for sports franchises and anything that’s on social media is there forever. A player may be able to delete the post minutes after it goes up, but thousands are able to save the post and have it forever. The aftermath of what can happen from saying something wrong on twitter in this day and age could be career-threatening.


Eppers, M. (2019). LeBron James has more strong comments after another dispiriting Lakers loss.

Leomessi. (2020, February 20). The play never stops for the love of Pepsi. 

Rosenblatt, K. (2020). ‘This one hurt’: NBA stars and public figures grieve after Kobe Bryant’s death. 

By: Kelsi Camp

With public relations and advertising being an ever-growing and evolving industry, I think it’s important to identify current and emerging trends to look forward to.  As many of us know, endorsement advertising in the past has been a very successful way to advertise a service and/or a product. But, a commercial today with [Insert your favorite celebrity here] hasn’t done as well as it has in the past. According to Marketingideas101, 55% of US adults find that celebrities can have a somewhat or very negative impact on the product/service/issue they are promoting. As we know, more people are more likely to buy a product if it is endorsed by someone they personally know, such as a family member and/or friend. According to Marketingidea101, 92% of people will trust recommendations from a person they know, and 70% of people trust consumer opinions that have been posted online.  Leaving us with only, one in 10 people that would engage with advertisements because they like the spokesperson. 

Now, why is this important? YouTube is one of the top platforms used when it comes to creating viewing video content. Following Netflix, shown in the graphic below: 


YouTube “personalities” is a relatively new trend when it comes to celebrities and how well their audience and/or fans actually know the influencer. Some of YouTube’s biggest independent influencers, meaning one “influencer” runs the channel, who are portrayed as YouTube personalities are PewDiePie, Shane Dawson, Smosh, and David Dobrik.

The audiences of these platform influencers tend to have a relatively close relationship with the influencer. These influencers’ videos are conversational and reveal personal details about their lives outside of their career.  Most of these influencers talk to their audiences rather than talking to their audiences. This type of content isn’t something you would commonly see from a “normal” celebrity. For example, David Dobrik, who has over 16 million subscribers on YouTube, posts vlogs on this main channel that are always four minutes and 20 seconds long. The vlogs explore the daily life of Dobrik and his friends, who are called “The Vlog Squad.” These videos can range from Dobrik buying his friends cars to pranking his members of “The Vlog Squad.” 

SeatGeek is an excellent example of how to use a popular influencer’s credibility to their advantage. Seatgeek is a ticket buying and selling platform that users can access through a mobile app or website to complete their transaction. 

David Dobrik is a YouTuber who has a brand partnership with SeatGeek. The partnership started in 2016 and is still very active today. Since SeatGeek has partnered with David Dobrik and other YouTube influencers, sales have grown over 1,500%. The relationship between Dobrik and SeatGeek isn’t your typical brand partnership, which is why I believe SeatGeek has been so successful. This four-minute and 20-second video from Dobrik’s Youtube channel is just one example of the unique partnership between Dobrik and SeatGeek.

Ian Borthwick, director of SeatGeek, is one of the main reasons this partnership with Dobrik has been so successful.  Borthwick has even become somewhat of a marketing star from his relationship with Dobrik by accumulating 31.7k followers on Twitter

Borthwick’s out-of-the-box marketing partnership with Dobrik is something more brands should be aiming for. Ditch the boring 30-sec scripted advertisement and allow the influencer to endorse the brand in a more authentic way. Not only does this tactic help build a better partnership between the influencer and the brand, but it shows the audience that the brand trusts its product enough that they can allow an influencer to talk about their brand freely. 


Infographic: Can Celebrity Endorsements Influence Sales? (2020, January 31). Retrieved from

Spangler, T. (2019, May 3). YouTube Now Has 2 Billion Monthly Users, Who Watch 250 Million Hours on TV Screens Daily. Retrieved from

Weiss, G. (2019, August 2). David Dobrik’s Unique Relationship With SeatGeek Is The Stuff Branded Content Dreams Are Made Of. Retrieved from

By: Halle Guzolik

In a world where new brands are constantly surfacing and trends are continuously changing, businesses and companies need to employ rebranding strategies to cater to consumers’ needs and stay on top of their fierce competition. Without having and maintaining a strong brand image, it is difficult to deliver effective messages and produce a powerful brand association amongst the target audience. Here is a list of four important reasons why your business should consider rebranding: 

Changes in the market can threaten your relevancy. 

The rapid speed of today’s business landscape results in changes and improvements in convenience, pricing, and technology. Staying on top of these changes is crucial in maintaining relevancy and making your brand noticeable amongst an abundance of evolving brands. Even small changes in the market can seriously damage your business’s reputation and make it vulnerable to these threats. 

Consumers’ behaviors and habits are constantly evolving.

In this new digitized world, there are a plethora of choices available for your target audience. Understanding the new-age consumer and having a flexible brand is crucial in adapting to their needs and building brand loyalty. According to a Business 2 Community blog post, “In the late 1990s and early 2000s, loud and proud branding was the flavor of the week. Apparel companies like Abercrombie and Fitch, Louis Vuitton and Prada made billions selling their heavily-logoed merchandise … Fast forward to 2016, and conspicuous branding is a signifier of retrograde marketing and outdated attitudes about consumption and display of wealth”. In an ideal world, your rebrand should appeal not only to new customers but existing ones as well. 

Outdated branding can halt predicted growth. 

Say your company is preparing for an expected growth after the launch of a new product. If your brand is outdated, your voice, message, and mission that you’re hoping to project to consumers will contain clashing styles and inconsistencies. According to a blog on HubSpot, “ brands are designed to connect companies with their customers, so if you reposition your business to target a completely new customer profile — whether through product, place, prime, or promotion — your brand will need to follow suit”. 

Competitive influences can make your brand look outdated.

A rebrand can give your business the strength to successfully stand out against your competitors. By showcasing a new and improved identity, consumers are more likely to recognize your company for being different and better from the rest. Generic branding will not only hurt your brand, but it will also help your competitors obtain high-end recognition. According to an Onsight blog, “You might think that aligning your company with more successful competitors may make you successful by association; however, you need to stand out from the rest in order to be noticed”. 

Rebranding is an essential part of creating an impressionable brand image that resonates with your audience and for building the foundation for your business’s success. If your company is considering a rebrand, you must start by establishing a core message and identity and researching what strategy will most effectively represent these principles. The Martin Hall Agency is currently working on a rebrand for one of the clients that we service this semester. As the account services manager, I understand the client’s need for a new brand identity and the success that it can bring to the organization based on the reasons as stated in this blog post. 


Creating a logo that stands out from your competitors. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Ervin, B. (2016, March 25). 6 Important Stats on How Consumer Behavior Has Changed in the Digital Age.

Whitfield, D. (n.d.). The Ultimate Guide to Successfully Rebranding in 2020. Retrieved from

By: Dylan Stewart

The days of Mad Men style advertising agencies with cut-throat deals and major client acquisitions may be nearing to an end, according to experts. For several decades, the advertising agency was a booming industry, with it becoming one of the more successful industries in the modern U.S. All the top corporations looking to market their products or service instinctively would always go to agencies – and why not? At the time, if you wanted the best possible result, agencies were the only option. However, 50 years later, the market has effectively been saturated with agencies, and data is showing that it’s not necessarily a good thing. 

Despite the congestion of the agency market, there exists a bigger threat to the industry. As of today, the biggest threat to private advertising agencies is the fact that they no longer hold a monopoly. As time goes on, we are seeing more major companies begin to create their own in-house agencies, where they can hire a professional staff of creatives to develop ads for them.  A 2018 Forrester/In-House Agency Forum survey found that 64% of respondents use in-house agencies for some services in 2018, which is an increase of 52% from a decade ago; this includes the 70% of marketers who command strategy and campaign direction in-house for programmatic advertising. While at first glance, this statistic seems staggeringly high, the fact of the matter is it is both more efficient in the economic sense and the logistical sense. 

Creating your own in-house agency allows for cheaper up-front costs and easier production between client and consumer. With a typical advertising agency, there will be several back and forth communications. These interactions come with the cost of painstaking meetings, confusing dialogue, and even messages lost in translation. While many of these issues are not specific to the advertising industry, an in-house agency offers a pragmatic solution to these common yet intrusive complications. 

Despite these shortcomings of the agency world, it certainly will not disappear overnight. According to Ad Age, as of 2016 US agencies pulled in over $48 billion, while still employing over 200,000 people. The fact of the matter is, they are still too profitable and too big to give in to in-house agencies and other smaller conglomerates. However, it appears almost inevitable that there will be a sharp decline in the near future, with more and more agencies having to adapt to the new world of advertising. The only question is will they be able to overcome these in-house agencies, or have we seen the end of the Mad Men world of advertising?


Shields, M. (2017, June 18). The future of ad agencies has never been more in doubt. Retrieved from

Dan, A. (2018, November 13). The State Of Advertising Has Never Been Worse. Retrieved from

Thompson, D. (2018, April 4). Where Did All the Advertising Jobs Go? Retrieved from

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