Are fashion and beauty blogs manipulating us as women?
By Katelyn Bernard
Blogs are serious business nowadays and a global trend. Over the last decade the phenomenon of self-made videos by makeup and beauty experts has exploded on You Tube.
The brand ambassadors have latched on to the platform, looking for digital content creators to flog their brands by recommending their products.
The female bloggers have become a brand themselves. However is the beauty blogging machine weakening its credibility by recommending specific beauty products?
The question is, is the advice unbiased, honest and authentic. The main reason there has been a huge influx of bloggers is the development and growth of promotions from big business.
A lot of beauty and fashion blogs are being used as advertisements to manipulate a female audience. They are either geared towards teenagers, or working women, feeding their aspirations to feel rich like their role models and icons.
To build demand for a brand the blogger has to reach new audiences. And we are now in an age where instead of going into a shop and asking the shop assistant for help, consumers are going online first to see what products have gotten good reviews.
Vloggers or video bloggers can earn money from the ads at the beginning and the sides of their videos and they are paid a set payment per 1,000 views.
They can also attract advertising by becoming a YouTube partner, which gives the advertiser access to their channel.
However they are not going to be a lot of interest to advertisers unless consistently delivering thousands of views every day. And that is no easy task in this web crazy world!
When choosing an audience, a blogger must take a few things into consideration: who is the blog aimed at. For example, are teenagers looking for more affordable brands like Rimmel and a mature audience is more clean and simple?
Suzanne Jackson is one of Ireland’s leading fashion beauty bloggers. She gives regular fashion and beauty updates and interacts daily with her audience accessing a lot of traffic flow on her site with over 2 million followers.
Her website is brimming with product placement. She is the brand. Anything So Sue Me recommends sells out straight away.
Her site is dedicated to fashion, what she has worn, beauty, lifestyle, travel and fitness. Young girls aspire to be like her, but Suzanne Jackson is given everything free to promote brands and she works on commission for the brands she is selling to the consumer. She is a role model for teenagers and young women.
Modern day reality TV stars, famous for being famous, such as of Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner, are regularly given products to promote on their Instagram accounts.
Their millions of followers gush over how fabulous their product is and how it works wonders but are these products really as good as they make out?
People are dealing with a lot of online content and they don’t always know who they can trust. However bloggers build a following during a long period of time and by writing informative articles. People begin to trust the sources and they relate to and respect the blogger.
The power of persuasion is the essence of advertising. Propaganda exists in many forms and is all around us. Propaganda uses a variety of communication techniques to create an emotional appeal to accept a particular belief or opinion.
It uses techniques which encourage people to think or act in some way just because other people are doing it, or making a claim that you should act in a certain way because of the high social status associated with the product.
Vague terms, involving promotion or challenging an opinion by using words that sound meaningless, are often used. Emotional words such a luxury, beautiful, paradise evoke a good positive feeling within, that is sure to want to make an individual want to buy the product.
As a reader we should be equipped to recognise these tricks that are vying to get us to buy the brands. Glistening generalities, using words that sound good but don’t really mean anything creates a favourable image in the mind of the consumer. The reader sees the blogger as an influential role model, someone to look up to.
A successful advertisement creates a desire in readers, it also provides information on how to fulfill the desire being sold to you that makes the consumer feel good about it, to evoke a feeling. They are selling an ideal to be like your icons to feel rich and buy their products to fulfill that ideal.