Ask Sir John Hegarty | Are Content Creators and Influencers the Judas, the Messiahs or the Horsemen of the Apocalypse of advertising?

Every month, advertising legend Sir John Hegarty answers one of your advertising related questions, and we’re starting the series with a bang.


Are Content Creators and Influencers the Judas, the Messiahs or the Horsemen of the Apocalypse of Advertising? (Big fan, Cheers from Brazil)


Dear Big Fan from Brazil,

Wow, that’s a loaded question!

First of all - do I think it’s the ‘apocalypse of advertising’?

No, I don't. I just think that's nonsense. I think of influencers as the apostles. If you think about it, they're going out and talking to individual groups of people, their followers about a brand, about what it does.

But they're doing it within the context of a brand strategy. And that's fundamentally important. It's no good having lots of disparate people sending out lots of different messages. It's like the apostles went out with the teachings of the church and said, "This is what it all means. This is why you should join.”

And that's in a sense what influencers are doing. They are creating influence for a brand within the group of people that follow them. But it's related back to the brand strategy, and if it isn't doing that, then it's just disparate and it all falls apart and it hasn't, you must have a consistent message to win in a fragmented market.

And if they are the apostles - then who is Jesus? Jesus is the brand. And that's the belief system, that's what we're going out to sell - so keeping this religious kind of connection going.

But, I think the important thing is, it isn't an either or. It always happens when new ways of communicating come out. It sort of implies, 'this is going to kill all the other systems of communication.' But it shouldn't. People still go to the theatre. They don't go as much as they used to. People still go to the cinema. Cinema's thriving. Television didn't kill cinema. The radio wasn't killed by television. People still listen to the radio.

There's this sort of belief system that somehow one thing is going to destroy all the others. It doesn't. It adds to it. And that's the important thing.

Sir John Hegarty

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