Influence Weekly #257 - How a TikTok creator's fake Pepsi ad went viral

Influence Weekly #257
November 4th, 2022
Executive Summary
  • How a TikTok creator's fake Pepsi ad went viral
  • M&S unveils first virtual influencer
  • Publishers want to buy BookTok, Creators Resistant
  • The Rise of the Millionaire LinkedIn Influencer

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Great Reads

How a TikTok creator's fake Pepsi ad went viral and led to multiple brand partnerships - Ad Age - Registration Required
A new type of influencer is emerging in the creator economy—one that is garnering followers and brand love not for their influence in a niche specialization, but for their ability to create ads for brands. 

Jona Daniel, a videographer, found TikTok fame over the past year for creating fake ads for brands, including Pepsi, Nespresso and Sprite. Daniel stumbled upon YouTuber Daniel Schiffer making a commercial at home, and, in the process of figuring out his next career move, was inspired to make ads himself. “When I saw that, I saw the perfect job for me,” Daniel said from his home in  Sant Feliu de Guixols, which is located in northeast Spain. “It was a way to make a living, but also be creative, be in a studio.” 

Schiffer, Daniel said, made the commercial look easy, so he decided to give it a shot. He reached out to a small Dutch beer company and offered to make them a commercial for free in February 2021. That led to him making additional spec commercials for Sprite, Nespresso and Coke as a way to hone his videography skills using what he had on hand.

But it was his spec commercial for Pepsi, which showed a condensated can being poured into a glass, that took off. Just 24 seconds long, the ad had racked up over 85 million views as of press time. 

Amy Hardy Of Alt_Amy: Keeping Up In A Hyper-competitive Industry While Dealing With Chronic Illnesses
Amy keeps things real on her social media by sharing good and bad times with her followers. 

“It’s hard not to sugarcoat things at first because you don’t want to be completely negative, but at the same time, since I have an emotionally unstable personality disorder, something that could be quite small to another person can be monumental for me.”

However, she promotes the message that we all have things we wish we could change or do differently and that everyone goes through tough times. 

“If I can make other people a bit happier, even in my darkest moments, and I’m sharing that to make people feel a bit like okay, there are other people [experiencing tough times], that’s all the more reason to keep doing it."

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Campaign Insights

How Clinique Is Using Social Media To Engage With A New Generation Of Beauty Consumers
In a new campaign called #CSuite, began in October with Clinique working with TikTok influencers to spread the word about Clinique. Eight influencers will work with the company in North America and several teams across the world in hopes of engaging more with Gen-Zers.

"The C-Suite campaign is, in many ways, an evolution of all of those [experiences]. We're trying to create something native to TikTok but also represent the brand in a way that actually allows us to bring the brand point of view to life," Sameer Agarwal, VP of marketing for the brand said. They're aiming to build on the success of their #ZitHappens campaign on TikTok in 2020 which led to their Black Honey lipstick selling out.

"Through this C-suite program, we have the opportunity to expand the community around our brand by tapping into existing communities and building strong partnerships versus tapping in and out [with one-off campaigns]," said Carolyn Dawkins, head of online analytics for the company.

M&S unveils first virtual influencer
The digitally-rendered influencer is called Mira, which is an acronym for 'Marks & Spencer, influencer, reality, augmented'.

M&S has created a backstory for Mira by appointing her as digital designer at M&S Support Centre office in West London, where she designs updates for M&S website and app, ""helping to drive innovation on these platforms, with her expert knowledge of AR and VR [augmented and virtual reality]"".

Mira is part of the M&S Insider programme, which was launched in January 2018 now includes 13 'Insiders' - M&S employees who receive a monthly allowance to purchase M&S products and promote them on their dedicated Instagram accounts.

Inside American Eagle’s holiday social media strategy
American Eagle started discussing joining BeReal earlier this year when the app became the number one top downloaded app in Apple’s App Store, but took time to strategically plan how to make the activation feel genuine and give users something of value, Brommers said. When the retailer announced it had entered the app, it posted on Instagram playfully about uncertainty surrounding how it would go.

“The angle was: ‘This could be a train wreck, we’re not quite sure how this is going to go over,’” Brommers said. 

Within 48 hours, American Eagle reached the 1,000 follower threshold on the platform, a limited number that could pose a challenge for brands looking to extend their reach. For those followers, the retailer each day drops an exclusive promotion for a specific item, a tactic that Brommers said has driven engagement well beyond that of others, which went unnamed, who are using the platform.

“From what we can tell, our engagement on the platform is 300% higher than the beauty brands that are on the platform,” he said. 

Lint Roller Brand Evercare Launches Sticky TikTok Campaign
“Sway Group recruited a diverse network of lifestyle influencers who brought not only their own authentic voices, but also some incredibly compelling cleaning hacks that showcased our product in unique ways,” says Tom Barber, SVP of product and brand marketing at Bradshaw Home – parent company of Evercare Lint Rollers.

Thus far, the content has generated 1.71 million actual impressions and 551,000 video views — more than double the original goals. Additionally, this campaign has seen a 19% improvement on CPM compared to a previous campaign that did not include TikTok.

“Evercare's campaign not only surpassed our base goals for viewership, it achieved our objective of generating brand awareness and sparking conversations with more than 18,000 post engagements,” says Sway Group CEO Danielle Wiley. “Our influencers’ sponsored TikToks for Evercare performed particularly well, showing that the right short-form video approach is key for the TikTok platform. By demonstrating the product in unexpected ways that utilise humour, TikTok creators were able to spark fresh interest in the Evercare brand.”

Publishers want to buy BookTok, Creators Resistant
As reported by Rollingstone, TikTok creator Haley Thomas shared that Random House’s attempt to get involved is making her and other TikTokers resistant to using the new app. Thomas shared that they are “actively concerned” about how publishing companies may attempt to use BookTok creators without offering fair compensation.“Initially, I thought this new [feature] could have some utility,” Thomas says “But then it felt scummy, like, not only is this giant trying to gobble up every other publisher, but now they want BookTok?”

There’s another issue as well, the concern over integrity and creators not wanting to sell out. BookTok creators rarely feature sponsored posts, and are usually just passionate readers who want to share their love for books. The attraction to many of these creators is that they offer honest reviewing which is not tainted by sponsorship.

It seems that Pengiun Random House is very aware of this factor, and that was one of the main draws for the collaboration with TikTok in the first place. In the TikTok announcement, Castaneda went on to share “#BookTok validates that word of mouth is still the most powerful force for our industry. People want to know how a book will make them feel, and TikTok values authenticity more than any other platform. We are so excited to have the opportunity to partner with TikTok to make the best parts of the platform—discovery and community—even stronger.” (
Interesting People

Ryan Davis, Founding Partner And CDO Of People First
People First, formerly Main Street One, is a micro-influencer marketing company focused on brand, cause advocacy, and political campaigns. They help brands meet their customers where they are on different channels, such as Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok, through personal stories created by the audience’s peers. People First specializes in micro-influencer recruitment and produced over 19,000 pieces of unique content for progressive organizations in 2019 and 2020 with these creators. 

Ryan explains, “One of the things that make us unique as a company is we have a team of digital relational organizers that I’ve built out. On the Obama campaign, we had people actually go into the Internet and recruit very specific people, whether it be on message boards, Instagram, Facebook groups, etc., who are talking about certain issues or products.”

After finding specific people who share the same interests and values as a brand, the People First Team brings the brand and creators together, helping them scale their campaign content through authentic peer messaging.

“The difficulty in scaling [People First] is that it’s a very one-to-one sort of program, so we wanted to have a place where all the creators would live after they worked with us, where they could have access to other campaigns that were looking for folks in their specific geography, demographic groups, etc.”

James Le And Mark Lee: The Disney Creators Lab
James explains, “I feel like we have a different approach to things like we’re not just any other food channel. I think people really enjoy us as a couple… Sometimes, we get a little sassy when we drink a bit on camera when we’re eating. We don’t have any problem expressing how we feel.”

He adds that the food is the star, but it’s secondary to them as a couple. 

Mark notes, “I feel like that’s the factor for us even lasting as long as we do because we’re not putting up a facade. This doesn’t feel like work for us. We’re just being ourselves. There’s no other character or role that we’re playing in front of the camera.”

James and Mark are part of the Disney Creators Lab, a program for developing creators that offers education and different opportunities to increase engagement. 

James shares, “We spent three days at the Disneyland Resort, and it was amazing. They curated a weekend opportunity to connect with all the other members of the group, which was already a huge plus because we haven’t, up to this point, really had many close connections with other content creators, let alone outside of our niche.”

The young workers flocking to 'career influencers'
Career influencers on TikTok and Instagram generally create content around a wide range of work-related subjects. Many of these creators post advice-driven videos, coaching people through topics such as finding new jobs or getting promotions.

A common theme is how to ask for a higher salary in a job offer. In one of Sindu Batra’s videos, she acts out both the parts of a hiring manager and an interviewee asking for better compensation, essentially giving her audience a script to use themselves. “You have a very short window to negotiate a higher salary if it’s not what you were expecting,” she writes in the caption.

Other times, creators focus on how workers should advocate for themselves within an organisation. For instance, Montréal-based career coach Tiffany Uman, 37, tells followers that they’re crippling their own progression if they think being a strong performer will necessarily lead to a promotion, or take on more responsibilities and expect that it will lead to a pay rise. In another post, she provides three steps to follow to ask a boss for a raise.

The Rise of the Millionaire LinkedIn Influencer
"It's essentially everything that I did to build this business. It's pulling back the curtains on using the platform successfully,” he said. “And by successfully I mean, both growing your audience, but also learning how to generate revenue from that same audience.”

Welsh described the business model as something of a “numbers game.” 

“I generate content on LinkedIn that gets seen on average 200,000 times a day,” he said. “Of those 200,000 impressions, I generally drive about 4,000-5,000 website visitors each day. And of those 4,000-5,000 website visitors each day, on average, 30 people will buy my course at an average revenue per user of $150 and generate $4,500 a day. And then 30 to 40 percent of them will upsell into the $9 month subscription product, which is now a $15,000 MRR business.” (“MRR” is short for monthly recurring revenue.)

As a result, he has built a multi-million dollar business and is helping others do the same. Welsh estimated that “at least 50” of his students are now running “six-figure” LinkedIn business as well—and said five of them are hitting seven figures like he is. 
Industry News

Instagram will soon allow select creators to make and sell NFTs directly in its app
Meta announced today that it is introducing a number of new creator updates across Instagram and Facebook. Most notably, the company revealed that creators on Instagram will soon be able to create their own NFTs and sell them directly to fans, both on and off Instagram. With this update, creators will have access to a toolkit that will help them create, showcase and sell NFTs. Polygon is the first partner that Meta has chosen for this feature.

People on Instagram will be able to buy the NFTs directly within the app. Meta says the process will take place via traditional in-app purchases across iOS and Android. And for now, Instagram is not taking a cut of the creators’ revenues. Meta is testing this new feature with a small group of creators in the U.S. and plans to expand it to more countries in the future.

Instagram is also adding support for the Solana blockchain and Phantom wallet, which join the blockchains and wallets that it already supports, including Rainbow, MetaMask, Trust Wallet, Coinbase Wallet, Dapper Wallet, Ethereum, Polygon and Flow. In addition, information for select collections where the metadata has been enriched by OpenSea, such as collection name and descriptions, will now be available on Instagram.

Snap and Amazon Fashion Partner to Create a Seamless AR Shopping Experience
Snap and Amazon Fashion partner to bring millions of Snapchatters new Virtual Try-On (VTO) experiences, expanding Augmented Reality (AR) for both brands and customers. The new Snapchat try-on Lenses feature thousands of Amazon Fashion’s popular Virtual Try-On Eyewear products, enabling Amazon brands to leverage their Amazon AR assets and showcase styles in a fun, interactive experience to millions of Snapchatters. Customers will be able to explore, shop and digitally try-on thousands of eyewear styles directly on Snapchat and then seamlessly purchase in the Amazon Fashion store.

“Amazon Fashion is always looking for new ways to collaborate with brands and create fun, innovative shopping experiences for customers,” says Muge Erdirik Dogan, president of Amazon Fashion. “Millions of customers regularly use Amazon’s AR shopping technology across categories in our stores, with Virtual Try-On for Eyewear being a long-time customer favorite. We are delighted to partner with Snapchat and further expand AR shopping for both fashion brands and today’s new generation of digital shoppers.”

Misfits Gaming Group launches $20M creator fund
Misfits Gaming Group is announcing the launch of a $20M creator fund aimed at helping creators and influencers bring projects to life. The fund is specifically earmarked to provide the infrastructure so creatives can easily implement their ambitious and innovative projects.

Misfits is creating custom-tailored solutions to the problems that come with these kinds of things. The Group is able to work on business ideas, like hardware, software and more. It can handle merchandising, either solely from the creator or in partnership with brands. It can also handle large scale content. Some examples include highly-produced television or streaming shows, events, live shows and conventions.

Facebook expands its professional mode profile setting to all creators globally
Meta has announced the global expansion of its professional mode profile setting on Facebook to all creators. Professional mode is designed to be used by creators looking to monetize their followings on the social network. Facebook began testing professional mode with select creators in December 2021 and is now offering it to anyone on its platform.

Professional mode gives creators the ability to build a public presence and gain access to professional tools that were previously only available for Pages, using the same profile they already have on Facebook. In a blog post, Facebook said that it sees professional mode as a way to “build a public following, earn money from various monetization programs, and connect with your audience in more meaningful ways.”

The profile setting gives creators access to monetization features and analytics tools, such as Facebook’s Reels Play bonus program, which allows you to earn money for the Reels you share. Professional mode also gives eligible creators access to Stars, which lets you earn money directly from followers on Reels, live and video on demand.

Snapchat Helps Merchants Reach Younger Audiences With BigCommerce Integration
Snap Inc. has announced a new partnership with BigCommerce -- an ecommerce platform focused on helping B2C and B2B brands -- inviting U.S. merchants to directly integrate their store into Snapchat as a one-stop-shop to sync product catalogs and create immersive ad campaigns. 

Snapchat has had a trying year, but the platform is attractive to advertisers because of its allure to younger audiences, particularly Gen-Z users. With the “Snapchat for BigCommerce” integration, merchants will aim to broaden customer reach, open new revenue streams and further scale their businesses.

Merchants can access the app integration via the BigCommerce Channel Manager to begin placing the Snap Pixel, sync product catalogs and producing and managing Snapchat ad campaigns to drive online store visits, purchases and retargeting campaigns, the company says. 

Snapchat for BigCommerce aims to help merchants engage with the social media platform’s 363 million daily active users (and 600 million global monthly users), as well as use Snap Pixel to track conversations, measure results, and target Snapchatters who have already viewed their websites. 

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Great Paywalled Content

Glasgow beauty entrepreneur secures £5.5 million funding - Business Insider
Scottish makeup artist and beauty influencer Jamie Genevieve has announced a £5.5m Series A round – with £1m coming from Pembroke VCT.

Investing alongside the venture capital trust are Venrex and Samos - the early stage investors in Charlotte Tilbury - and Active Partners.

Glasgow-born Genevieve, who has built a following of more than three million social media followers, established VIEVE in 2020 to deliver high performance, yet accessible beauty products.

Curated around a refined vegan, paraben, gluten and cruelty-free formula, the start-up has grown quickly from a select range of staples to a portfolio for both everyday wear and artistry.

VIEVE is led by chief executive Emma Dawson, a beauty industry expert with experience at L’Oreal LUXE, where she left in 2017 to set up her own boutique PR agency, prior to taking on her role at VIEVE.

The investment will be used to further build out the team’s expertise, develop products and expand the brand globally.

Campaigns Skirt Political Ad Rules by Paying Influencers - The New York Times
These social media influencers and microinfluencers — noncelebrity users who have attracted a moderately large following — are paid hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars per post to circulate political messages, and they are part of a growing group of people who are being paid by campaign operatives to create content aimed at influencing the midterm elections.

Political firms, mostly those aligned with Democrats and progressive causes, are increasingly turning to them in hopes of finding ways to reach Generation Z and non-English-speaking voters, according to researchers, and they represent a novel — and unregulated — way of promoting political messages.

Strategists say using influencers can enhance how campaigns engage with crucial voters who could help sway competitive races. They provide a cost-effective way to communicate to large and localized audiences that draws higher engagement and circumvents bans on political advertising on platforms like Twitter, TikTok and Instagram.

“​​Influencers know their audience better than anyone else,” Jessica Floyd, the president of American Bridge, said. “They are in conversation with people day in and day out on subjects that matter to them.”
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