The case: A violent virtual clash
Since May, the influential rapper Booba (nearly 6 million subscribers on Twitter), a big fan of “clashes” on social networks, has made it his mission to denounce the scams of “influ-thieves” (sic) via dropshipping, in particular. Basically, this fight can only be commendable. But in form, Elie Yaffa (the name of Booba) indulges in behavior bordering on calls for hatred, harassment, denigration, etc. And especially towards her favorite target: Magali Berdah, founder of the Shauna Events agency, specializing in influencers from reality TV. To defend herself, the latter multiplies the speeches, posing as the main representative of the profession. The case took a more media turn with the publication of an article by Releasewho even made its front page on July 28, 2022quite clearly taking the side of the singer.
The impact: The image of a tainted sector
The problem is that this noisy conflict between two influential people comes to crystallize in the eyes of the general public and the media a biased perception of the market. On the one hand, Booba who only shows a tiny fringe of the sector and its excesses, and on the other, Magali Berdah who presents herself as the creator – in 2016, while the market has existed for at least 10 years – influencer marketing. “You have to keep in mind that we list around thirty reality TV stars who operate commercial operations on their social networks out of a total of 150,000 content creators in total in France”, wants to reinstate Mohamed Mansouri, deputy director of the Professional Advertising Regulatory Authority (ARPP). It is therefore a simplistic image of the activity of influencer that is targeted by this case. “Influencer marketing is not limited to the distribution of promo codes interspersed with scenes of intimate life, insists Emilie Marie-Victoire, head of influence at Havas Play. This is to omit the great diversity of this profession, its creativity, its talents, the different verticals: lifestyle, streaming, niche influence, art, etc. Finally, Shauna Events only represents the least qualitative part of this mode of communication. »
The sequels: A statement by the creators?
How, under these conditions, can we maintain the confidence of both consumers and advertisers, who invest their budget in influence? “What we must hope for is that this highlighting of the profession of influencer but also that of influence agency, will precisely shed light on the frameworks and rules enacted for years and which continue to be reinforce every day”, glimpses Mohamed Mansouri. For years, the ARPP, but also the DGCCRF (General Directorate for Competition, Consumer Affairs and the Repression of Fraud), the AMF (Financial Markets Authority) or the ANJ (French Gaming Regulatory Authority) line), work to structure and regulate this market: prescription of standards for identifying collaborations, deontological and ethical rules, observatory of good practices, certificate for responsible influence, educational training for stakeholders, etc. But this case also raises another problem: the lack of professional interlocutors to speak on behalf of content creators in their diversity: a union, a professional association… Because who better than the influencers themselves (Squeezie, Lena Situations, EnjoyPhoenix, for example) to speak up and defend the profession against the opprobrium that is currently thrown at it?