Daily Insights

The Power of a Selfie

By: Alizah Asif Farooqi | Feb 08, 2019

With great selfies come great power. Such is the case with one of Jonah Hill’s most recent selfies. The actor snapped himself seated on the marbled floors of a classic selfie spot, the bathroom, donning a pair of striped sneakers. The image was paired with a lax caption, the adidas handle hangling effortlessly off it, plus the inevitable #ad. The next day, he posted a photo of the same sneakers with the simple, yet provocative caption, “Something fun coming from me and Adidas?”

The catch? It wasn’t exactly something fun from Hill and Adidas. In fact, all Hill actually did was rock the sneakers in a selfie, shedding light on a new type of influencer marketing.

Traditionally, brands team up with celebrities to put out a collaborative product. Coach and Selena Gomez. Puma and Rihanna. Topshop and Beyonce. Karl Lagerfeld and Kaia Gerber. The list goes on, as followers are blessed with behind-the-scenes shots of the celebrities hard at work with the designers, seemingly forging high-profile friendships and handcrafting custom items. Now, this journey may be wiped out for something much quicker—skipping the hassle of getting a celebrity to actually design something and instead, just having them wear a new product.

With athletic shoes on a buyer’s boom and entire businesses, accounts, and sites dedicated to figuring out what a celebrity is wearing, just having Hill’s name attached to Adidas’ new shoe is enough to cause a stir on social media.

Though this method is significantly easier than the traditional way, that is not to say that brands can simply pick any celebrity they fancy. When it comes to choosing influencers, follower size is generally the first consideration, but aesthetic fit is a very close second. Influencers with the largest followings, like Hill’s 1.3 million, often have a very defined personal style, which is like catnip to fashion and retail brands. It is no surprise, then, that fashion brands were mentioned by more influencers—343 on average—than any other sector, followed by activewear with 105, according to Gartner L2’s report on the topic.

Could simple product handoffs like the one that occurred between Adidas and Hill be the new future of influencer marketing? It’s very possible. The influence of social media itself, with its mesmerizing grids and images all lined up for users to scroll through with reckless abandon, points to an importance of the finished product. At the same time, perhaps appreciation for the “journey” is still there—the sneaker Hill sported in his selfie is still in stock.