We were recently given the most baffling piece of advice from one platform exec. that left me deeply worried for the future of our craft.

Our team is pretty adept at squeezing the most out of the different platforms – it’s one of the reasons clients come to us. And we love to have regular updates with platform reps to understand what the current best practices are – it’s a great way to gain an unfair advantage for clients.

But this one piece of advice left us completely bewildered. On the surface it sounds reasonable, but the second you start to unpack it as a business idea, it becomes, quite frankly, ludicrous.

We were told that if we want to drive the most engagement when using creators, we should leave all branding and brand codes out altogether.

On the surface there’s logic there. You’re paying a creator to make something for their audience, so don’t go slapping your logo all over the place as it’ll scare people off and make it look hideously commercial.

But it’s missing the fundamental point of advertising.

Everything is about creating a brand or business impact. Or in layman’s terms “building brands and selling shit”.

If we break down what is actually being asked for here by the platform it’s this:

“Dear brand, please pay this person to make some content, but whatever you do don’t ask them to include brand codes in it because that would scare away the audience they’ve spent all this time building. And you want this piece of content you’re paying for to reach as many people as possible, don’t you?”

The logical response as a brand is “okay, what the f**k is in this for me?”

Seriously, we’ve jumped the shark.

If you’re a marketer investing money in any channel you of course want to know what the return is going to be. Marketing is the definition of the phrase ‘spend money to make money’.

But if your brand is dialled right back to insignificance (and don’t tell me a channel icon or a #tag is a distinctive brand asset) in a piece of creator content, then that really is a waste of money. It doesn’t matter if thousands or millions more people see it because it won’t have any impact on your brand or business.

I’m not advocating a heavy-handed approach where we demand creators tattoo the logo on their body and mention the brand repeatedly. Working with creators should be about collaboration. And simply making the brand DBA’s fit for the channel and the purpose is the best way to do this. Make them feel like a natural fit.

Without becoming another ‘best practice with influencers piece’, quite clearly there needs to be an understanding of how advertising works before we look to natural alignment and genuine fit in any partnership. Influencers in advertising aren’t a new concept by any means (The Marlboro Man, Clooney and Nespresso) and so combining their influencers with the principles of effective advertising needs to be addressed or we’re going to undermine their use completely.

Here are two examples from Who Gives a Crap of working with creators to demonstrate my point.


Stop rolling with plastic, replace the roll with something better.

♬ Promoted Music - whogivesacraptp

The first example is essentially a product review, but uses the DBAs of the brand extensively. Their packaging. Creatively it’s pretty bog standard for what we’ve come to expect on TikTok, but it got engagement. Importantly it drove click throughs at the time of posting, but it’s also exposed the brand so much it’ll be able to have a long-term impact.

The second example is definitely more engaging as a story is unfolding. But it’s long and we we only get two glimpses of the packaging in the minute-long setup before the hero shot at the end – hardly the stuff brand building dreams are made of and does nothing to build the brand in the mind of the consumer.

I’m the creative guy here and I’m the one saying ‘make the logo bigger’. That is a surefire sign that something is seriously wrong.

Read the article on Mumbrella →