As the embers of the Fyre Festival fall-out continue to smoulder, the influencer industry has found itself under pressure to prove its effectiveness to brands and its worthiness to consumers.
The Netflix and Hulu films documenting the demise of a doomed luxury music festival shocked viewers, and brought into sharp focus the potential for influencer marketing to portray a fabricated reality that leaves customers bitterly disappointed. Brands, meanwhile, are demanding more robust metrics from YouTubers and Instagrammers, in an effort to ensure investments are not going to waste.
It provided an uncomfortable backdrop to the inaugural VidCon London, a four-day online video conference hosted at the vast ExCel London exhibition centre. Though the first UK-based VidCon, the event has been attracting tens of thousands of attendees to its annual conventions in California, Amsterdam and Melbourne since 2010. The presence of YouTube stars like Joe Sugg and Olajide 'KSI' Olatunji promised similar scenes in London. First, however, VidCon – since last year owned by Viacom – served up two days of an ‘Industry Track’ programme centred on the professionalisation of influencer marketing.