As a painfully important A-list influencer and celebrity of tomorrow today, big brands are always asking me to plug their products:
"Zach, can you please post a photo of you drinking a refreshing Pepsi with the logo visible? - Mr. Pepsi."
"Zach, snap a selfie of that pretty pink mouth full of a Swiss Cake Roll or 3. - Little Debbie"
"Mr. Zimmerman, Urban Outfitters kindly requests you never reference our brand again."
"Influencer marketing" is the new buzzword to describe a tale as old as time: selling out. Like Andy Brinker in Disney Channel's "Brink," Ice T, and Eddie Murphy, sell-outs are willing to trade their talents in for dollars. With #sponsored social media posts emerging faster than ever before, they are going to increasingly pop up on your Newsfeed, Twitter feed, and whatever Instagram calls its feed. Your high school math teacher will post a picture of a weight loss product he's never used to make rent. Your vegetarian grandmother will tag #OutbackSteakhouse for a few bucks.
That's why a new start-up called the H Influencer Collective caught my eye. Founded by a college buddy of mine who compensated me for my opinion, H is a community of influencers with strict standards about their partners. Plus, they throw instameetups, host events, and organize trips so that likeminded people can create together authentically. Businesses will see better long-term results by working with influencers that fit their brand, and laypeople won't have to put up with insincere bullshit #sponsored posts.
As more and more people sell out, the way to stand out is going to be to stay authentic and true to who you are. Also, nudity.
So the next time you see a straight celeb plugging enemas or a skinny person fake-eating a bucket of fried chicken, pause and realize they're probably #sponsored. What you thought was a sneak peek in their private life is really an #ad.
That said, daddy got to get paid: