Sunday, January 29, 2023
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Dear Insta influencers, Covid-19 charity is not an excuse to promote your products

While social media marketing is required for independent companies to promote products, Covid-19 crisis is not the appropriate time for that.

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It is not charity if you can’t instagram it. Many people are contributing to various causes during the Covid-19 crisis. But it looks like some Instagram influencers and big companies didn’t get the memo on the ethics around charity.

Covid-19 #charity

A quick search of #charity on Instagram is a revealing lesson in feigning righteousness. Many people promote various charities, but the accompanying picture of them with perfectly coiffed hair and airbrushed makeup is deeply unsettling, not to mention garish. These posts are almost always centered around the influencers, with the causes they are pledging their support for, coming as belated afterthoughts.

View this post on Instagram

Sip + shop for a good cause☕️ I’m so happy to be partnering to give back 20% of any @kendrascott purchase directly to OKC’s @rfbo! Just use the code GIVEBACK6905 at check out so that the donation with go directly to them! And to help @feedingamerica shop the Everlyne bracelets – 50% of your purchase will go to them. Both are stylish ways to giveback and I love that @kendrascott has always had a focus on philanthropy throughout the years. It makes me proud to wear it! Sip + shop for a good cause! I’m so happy to be partnering @kendrascott to give back 20% of any purchase directly to OKC’s @rfbo! Just use the code ➡️GIVEBACK6905⬅️ at check out for the donation to go directly to them! . . . #liketkit #LTKunder100 #LTKunder50 #LTKstyletip

A post shared by Ally Noriega /// AiW (@allysoninwonderland) on

Several influencers and companies are also using this opportunity to promote their own products, promising a percentage of their profits to Covid-19 charities. No, thank you!

While I acknowledge a lot of these are independent companies that require social media marketing to thrive, we are in the midst of a situation where not many want to indulge in that new sweatshirt or necklace, and no, your five per cent of ‘generosity’ to Feeding India or the likes is not likely to change things.

View this post on Instagram

Our tribe ´Free Spirit’ is launching a new white hoodie from our collection called « The Shield ». Our foundation is selling that hoodie to raise funds to charities in charge of vulnerable children in Africa and Asia. The design was made by our Free Spirit talent @mickacolor – the model is @parisian_tarzan and photography made by @pierrenguyenphoto – After the lockdown, we ll start selling these hoodies. Join our @freespirit.tribe and be a part of our journey to protect the planet and save our future. #hoodie #whitehoodie #saveourfurure #saveourplanet #charity #biohoodie #ecoresponsable #protectus #africancharity #freespirit #developpementdurable #ourfuture #designedbyartists

A post shared by Free Spirit Foundation (@freespiritcrew) on

Reality star Kim Kardashian, who is no stranger to seizing online opportunities, promoted her skinwear Skims and very magnanimously mentioned that 20 per cent of the proceeds will go to a Covid-19 emergency programme. The post was accompanied by a picture of her in the skinwear, very typical Kim K style. When Buzzfeed contacted her team for details about her personal donations, it was promptly told they “don’t comment on personal donations.”

To her credit, Kardashian deleted the post after the massive backlash.

Also Read: How social media influencers are adapting to social distancing

Freebies in a lockdown

But we find that things are truly bizarre when you dig deeper into the lives of these influencers. Now, we’ve all been jealous of those YouTube and Instagram celebrities who get a lot of free stuff due to the nature of their work. But one would think that things will ease during the Covid-19 lockdown, but no, some influencers are slightly addicted to freebies.

A report by Daily Mail reveals that some Instagram influencers are trying to score free food and alcohol from restaurants, despite the lockdown. Just FYI: Most of those involved in the hospitality and restaurant sector are struggling to stay afloat during this pandemic.

British-Australian actor Harry Cook reportedly asked a Sydney-based wine company if it would “consider sending him a complimentary case once a month for social media promotion”. He was, deservedly, blasted by the company’s representatives for his “totally uncool” offer.

“Asking people who are really deeply affected by the pause in the hospitality industry is a pretty poor judgement of how to approach supporting those in need in this very difficult time,” the company’s co-owner said.

Perhaps, a lesson in tact is warranted, Harry?

Also Read: Community fitness groups, Instagram challenges & live exercise sessions – how Indians are staying fit under lockdown

Unreal and weird

Many have written about the oddity of Instagram before me and many will write after me. However, this platform has become a tad more weird during this lockdown.

From photographs of enviable travel destinations, now we get saturation-heavy photos from bedrooms and drawing rooms straight out of Pinterest. Then there is the regular post asking everyone to stay home, accompanied with a strategic thirst trap photograph that no one really asked for. Well, come rain or storm or a pandemic, you can trust Instagram influencers to keep it (un)real.

To be fair to Instagram influencers, celebrities from entertainment business are also not doing any better during this crisis. An example of this is Hollywood actor Gal Gadot’s multi-starrer rendition of John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’.

Just one word for it — why?

Views are personal. 

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