Tarte and the future of the influencer trip

Feb 01, 2023
Tarte and the future of the influencer trip

There once was a time when many people seemed to eat up the content from influencer trips to Coachella and Paris Fashion Week. But those days may be over.

Based on the internet’s reception, it seems that makeup brand Tarte’s latest activation in Dubai (or rather, outside of it) could be the straw that broke the camel-riding influencer’s back.

Influential or out of touch? Tarte, in partnership with Sephora Middle East, sent 29 influencers and their plus ones on an all-expenses-paid, three-day trip to the UAE. According to Vogue Business, the brand has hosted more than 20 trips for influencers since 2015. The #TarteDubaiTrip hashtag currently has more than 22 million views on TikTok.

While some onlookers defended the trip, it seems there were more than a few viewers who weren’t exactly fans. Influencers were called out for appearing not to know the names of the products they were promoting. Some criticized Tarte for what they saw as being wasteful. Others questioned how much the brand spent on the trip and whether this was an appropriate time for an event like this given people’s current economic hardships and the fact that many are struggling to afford basic necessities…like eggs.

Tarte founder and CEO Maureen Kelly responded to the criticism, telling Glossy that “every day, brands make decisions about how to spend their marketing budgets. For some companies, that means a huge Super Bowl commercial or a multi-million-dollar contract with a famous athlete or celeb. We’ve never done traditional advertising, and instead we invest in building relationships and building up communities.” Kelly also told Glossy that the brand does not pay influencers to attend its trips or “require anything.” Marketing Brew reached out to Tarte but had not heard back at the time of publication.

So what’s next? While some have predicted that the future of influencer marketing will be “offline and hyper-niche,” Krishna Subramanian, co-founder and CEO of influencer marketing platform Captiv8, told us that he doesn’t believe this is the end of the influencer trip “at all.”

“I think the fact that everyone’s talking about Tarte right now is probably making this even more of a profitable trip for Tarte from a marketing perspective,” he said.

In the end, he said, brands like Tarte are trying to build long-term connections with influencers—who will hopefully continue to use their products. Combined with the amount of content that the brand was able to get from the trip out of each influencer it sent, he said it “probably outweighs the cost of flying those creators out there at all.”

Jennifer Bett Meyer, founder of PR agency JBC, told us that it’s up to brands to decide whether to spend their money on expensive trips in an effort to achieve their ROIs, but emphasized the value in working with “people that are doing really interesting things,” like micro-influencers who maybe don’t post as many brand deals and therefore can come across as more authentic.

“In beauty, there’s just so much product and so much saturation that people maybe feel like they have to do these extravagant things to stand out,” she said. “I truly believe that if you align yourself with a super-strategic creative partner who’s going to double down on, ‘How do we tell the story in a really interesting way across a diverse section of media?’ You will get a very strong return.”

Source: marketingbrew