I read a really interesting article on news.com.au today. And by interesting I mean, kind of bullshit.
But before I go into the BS of it all, let me set the scene.
The first headline, the one on the news.com.au homepage, read: “Comment that ruined my spa treatment”.
I wondered what they had said to her, because spa therapists can be a little terrifying. You’re usually lying there somewhat naked under a towel/sheet etc so it’s natural to feel a tad vulnerable—unless like me you choose to fall asleep three seconds after your pampering starts only to wake up at the end and wonder if they even went through with the whole thing or just kicked back and watched the latest MAFS recap online.
So I get it. Plus, I once had a physio start telling me about how she hated seeing women with stretch marks wearing bikinis at the beach and ‘do they not have a mirror at home’ as she massaged my stretch-marked, bikini-tanned butt. Um, back off, bitch.
But I digress. So, the author of this story—let’s call her Lisa, because that IS her name—began by writing about how after an “indulgent facial at a swanky inner city day spa”, the beautician tried to flog two, yes TWO, $985 face creams on her, claiming they’d “change her life forever”.
Without knowing what those face creams were, I know without a doubt that they would most certainly change my life—mostly because I’d be unable to pay next month’s rent and forced to declare bankruptcy.
I was right there beside her, feeling the outrage and ready to picket. Stop trying to upsell us! Leave our dry skin alone! Every woman who has even been for some kind of beauty treatment knows that it’s like 99.9% likely they’re going to try to sell you something extra. It’s like asking if you want fries with your burger (except the answer to that is always YES!).
But $1970 worth of something is a little steep. Was it made of unicorn poo and the DNA of Meghan Markle? Because if so, I’ll take Lisa’s two jars!
But then Lisa’s story took a nasty turn when she compared the beautician flogging $1970 worth of face cream for what she suspects (she doesn’t know for sure) was a hefty commission to influencers.
Um. Excuse me. WHAT?
So I’ve got a little message for Lisa:
Lady, I don’t know you from a bar of fancy imported goat-milk soap, but don’t be dragging me and my lovely tribe of fashion-loving bloggers into your ‘I-had-a-fancy-facial-and-was-insulted-they-told-me-my-skin-was-so-crap-I-need-to-spend-a-fortune-fixing-it’ rant.
I’m not TELLING you—or anyone else— to buy anything. The last I checked, I wasn’t standing outside your window yelling at you with a megaphone that you MUST buy a dress/shoes/bag.
I have certainly never said anyone’s life would be worse off without something (I have told myself that, but I have quite at talent when it comes to justifying expensive purchases). Although, to be honest, if we’re talking about those new Honeycomb Malteasers, well I do think your life will be worse off without them. #notsponsored
Have you never purchased something after you saw it in a magazine? Or on a TV ad or a radio commercial? This is the same. It’s like when a companies pay celebrities to be the face of their product or brand, just on a way (and I mean waaaaaaaaaay) smaller scale.
Do I love Julia Roberts? Yes!
Am I going to go and buy the Lancome perfume that she’s the face of JUST because she’s on the ad? No, and especially not if it smells like cat pee or smelly socks. (As a side note, it does not smell like cat pee or smelly socks, it smells lovely and I bought a bottle of it for my mum.)
When someone offers to pay me for a sponsored post, it means they (and I) recognise the effort that goes into my Instagram and blog; the time it takes to put an outfit together; to do my hair and makeup; take the photos; write the caption; and it helps cover the cost of running my blog; the domain feeds, internet access, my phone and computer. Not to mention the hours and hours I spend each week talking to my followers; sharing jokes and stories; answering their questions about the clothes I’m wearing and providing styling advice to those who message me.
Taking that into consideration, what you’re saying is that it’s okay for YOU to get paid to write a story. A story that will run on a website. A website that will put advertising alongside your story; above your story; and sometimes popping up in the middle of your story. Advertising that has been paid for.
But I shouldn’t get paid for the work I do, because if I’m paid, I may not tell the truth. Is that what you’re saying?
Hmm. Out of curiosity Lisa, did the comment about the face cream REALLY ruin your spa treatment? Really, really? Did you leave in tears unable to have found any bliss in the time you’d been there being pampered while lying on that silk pillow? Or did you simply shake your head and dismiss the whole thing as ridiculous until you realised it would made good fodder for a story?
You seem to be saying that it would be better if I didn’t say a post was sponsored; if I kept it to myself like a dirty little secret so people like you didn’t dismiss me as a liar and a sellout? Does that mean I also shouldn’t tell the ATO about that side of my income? Where do you draw the line?
A sponsored post does not mean I’m going to lie just so I get paid or get a free dress (in fact, I’ve evenwritten about it before). If I indulged in that kind of behaviour, I’d get called out by my followers pretty quickly and they’d all unfollow me—much like I’d do to you if you actually had an open Instagram profile, but instead I’ve got work to do.
The one thing I do agree with in your article is that “feedback — good or bad — can go a long way in helping a consumer feel valued, heard, and secure that you haven’t wasted your hard-earned cash”.
So here’s my feedback, Lisa. Perhaps the next time you decide to slag off the men and women who are trying to make a career or even just a little bit of extra income in the ever-changing media landscape, you actually have a chat to some of us first.
Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy that post-facial glow while you sit in your little glass house and think of which industry you’ll target next.
Now I’m #out.