Creators are speaking out against shady brand deals

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The Future. A new trend has emerged on TikTok where creators divulge unethical practices from brand partners in their “Get Ready With Me” videos. This wave of transparency could foreshadow a shift towards greater accountability in influencer marketing, with creators becoming more likely to reject an imbalanced power dynamic with brands.

The uncomfortable truth
In January, beauty influencer Abbey Yung opened up a can of worms with her TikTok video “SHADY BRAND DEALS,”where she shared her experiences rejecting unethical requests from brand partners.

  • Now, both micro- and mega-influencers are shining a spotlight on questionable marketing tactics, like brands urging creators to hide sponsorships, make false claims about products, and prioritize company demands over personal emergencies (such as being in the hospital with a family member).
  • Their videos are exposing how brands sometimes pressure influencers to lie about product efficacy and how they sometimes use creators’ content without permission or delay payments for months.

The right to say no
Influencer marketing experts say that creators can protect themselves by reading the fine print, knowing their rights, negotiating better contracts, and pushing back against outrageous demands…

…which is good business advice for all of us to follow.

Kait Cunniff

Kait is a Chicago-raised, LA-based writer and NYU film grad. She created an anthology TV series for Refinery29 and worked as a development executive for John Wells Productions, Jon M. Chu, and Paramount Pictures. Her favorite color is orange.


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