This week an influencer faked her death to promote a good cause - what are the ethical and sector-wide implications?
Earlier this week an Instagram post announced the death of Poonam Pandey, an Indian actor, model and influencer. The post was a stunt designed to heighten awareness of cervical cancer.
The following day Pandley posted a Reel exclaiming “I am alive. I didn’t die because of cervical cancer.”
The stunt provoked a major backlash. Nearly 50,000 Instagram users liked one of the Reel’s comments which said “WORST PUBLICITY STUNT EVER!”
Later the same day the social media agency behind the initiative issued a sorry-not-sorry apology via Instagram.
In a post-truth, liar's dividend world of deepfakes, misinformation and disinformation such, no doubt, well-intentioned 'stunts' erode audience trust in our sector and, worse still, might have an adverse effect on cervical cancer prevention.
If everything is 'fair game' to grab attention - no matter how worthy the cause or compelling the communication such initiatives will erode the impact influencer marketing holds over shaping public behaviour.
The campaign created a great spark of attention. But, according to Google Trends at least, the surge was short lived. What will be the legacy of this ill-conceived campaign?
This story is an extract from this week's Creator Briefing newsletter. Sign up here to receive weekly updates on the creator economy.