Khloe Kardashian's Failed Shilling of Febreze [A Deep Dive]by@arvind-patidar
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621 reads

Khloe Kardashian's Failed Shilling of Febreze [A Deep Dive]

by Arvind PatidarMay 24th, 2020
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Khloé Kardashian is a celebrity influencer with 110 million followers on Instagram. She has collaborated with big names like Amazon, Calvin Klein, Good American, Burst Oral Care, and many more. The post went viral, and the mocking comments just kept coming from users. The following autopsy of this not so successful influencer marketing case can teach you what to avoid in your Influencer marketing efforts. The post should have been taken one step more towards a funny post that will entertain users. The indication that this was a joke should be more specific and honest.

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Khloé Kardashian is one of the many famous influencers. Her posts cost a fortune and brands who can afford it count on her excessive fan base to make it worth it.

As a celebrity influencer with 110 million followers on Instagram, she has collaborated with big names like Amazon, Calvin Klein, Good American, Burst Oral Care, and many more. Anyone who plans to enter a collaboration with Khloé needs to be prepared to set aside a budget of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Does that mean that every partnership with a famous influencer has to be a success? You will see in the upcoming case that it doesn't.

Febreze teamed up with Khloé Kardashian in February with great plans in mind. She was supposed to create an interesting post that will get her followers to stack up on their Febreze products. Unfortunately, the result wasn't what they expected.

They made a few big mistakes which no one could miss. Instead of successful cooperation, they ended up with critique and disappointed followers. So, what were these big mistakes?

The following autopsy of this not so successful influencer marketing case can teach you what to avoid in your influencer marketing efforts.

How It All Started

This should have been just one of the typical sponsored posts. Nicely edited photos with a description that suggests the sponsored product. So, let's take a look at the Instagram post.

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The caption was "The best ever. I've used @Febreze Fabric on my bed for years. Try it out and let me know what you think? 👑 #FebrezePartner forever! By my favorite scent at *link*."

The post motivated many users to start commenting on its absurdity. Khloe was trolled for this endorsement. Some were extremely harsh, while others trolled her with mocking comments.

You could see questions, "why don't you just wash your sheets," or "how much did they pay you to do this."They pretty much all agreed that Kardashians aren't too picky when it comes to endorsements. The post went viral, and the mocking comments just kept coming.

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While users jumped to the opportunity to start a new roasting chain, marketers and brands can use this example as what not to do and why.

Let's analyze which elements of this post turned it into a viral disaster. 

Indefinite Style and Tone

What confused many users was the lack of indication, whether that was a joke or not. There were some signals that Khloé wanted to create a humorous post.

The bedazzled Febreze bottles are funny, but they weren't enough to turn this post into a joke.

Users weren't sure how to look at the post. Was Khloé trying to be funny, or was she serious? Just the thought of this being a serious statement makes the post tragic.

To give this post a clear style and tone of the humorous sponsored ad, they needed to go more over the top. The indication that this was a joke should have been more specific. From the more humorous caption to photos, everything should be taken one step more towards a funny post that will entertain users.

Confusing Message

Now the caption took this whole confusion to the next level. Starting from the claim that Khloé has "used Febreze on her bed for years." First of all, saying that she cleans anything in her home is not true.

Considering her wealth, the image of her doing household cleaning with Febreze herself is comical.

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Followers also tried to explain that Febreze removes odor and isn't used for cleaning. They wondered, is it even hygienic to use a spray on the sheets?

When followers need to explain to promoter what the product is for, you know that the message went in the wrong direction.

The caption also included that she uses Febreze for years. Maybe they wanted to present Khloé as a year-long user of Febreze products. They might have a better chance at that if they included some backstory around their relationship. Supporting a story will make it more believable.

The next disingenuous part is the fact that she uses the product on her bedspread. Even if she were using the product, she wouldn't use it for cleaning the sheets.

This particular part is what sparked the many comments that suggested that she should wash the sheets rather than spray them with Febreze.

If the goal was to be funny, they didn't accomplish that goal: the caption and the intended message needed to be more specific and honest.

It would be better if she simply said that the smell of Febreze is what reminds her that she is home. Thus she would indicate that she has been using their products without claiming that she does the cleaning.

Another option is that she came up with an obvious joke that wouldn't make people wondering what she was trying to say.

Inadequate Photos

The photos might look great at first, but once you add the factor that this should be a Febreze ad, it makes no sense.

Khloé is seductively posing on her bed with cleaning products. The first thing that probably popped in your mind is why? Why would anyone lie in their bed just in a t-shirt surrounded by Febreze bottles? Then, there is also an image of her daughter and her again with the bottles. Why? Nobody knows.

Portraying herself in a way in which people usually use Febreze would be a much better idea.

The main mystery is why the bottles are bedazzled. Was this supposed to be a sign of Khloé's celebrity status? If it were supposed to be a joke, the result would be much better. However, the overall post doesn't clearly show that it is a joke.

What could have saved this post is if she created more fun and quirky images. She could keep the bedazzled bottles, but the seductive poses and unclear caption would need to go.

Creating a series of posts or a story instead of this one post with several photos would be a better idea. The brand will get better recognition, and they would have a chance to develop a better story.

Lack of Professionalism

With so many marketers in the world waiting for the opportunity to create amazing influencer marketing campaigns, failures such as this shouldn't happen, especially when it comes to successful brands and celebrity influencers.

We would expect that a veteran in influencer marketing like Khloé
Kardashian would know better. This sponsored ad seems like something she quickly put together without much thinking.

If they dedicated time and effort to create this campaign, it shouldn't have been this confusing. Nobody knows who had the last saying in this campaign. Maybe Febreze approved the post, and perhaps they don't. In any case, both Khloé and Febreze were expected to be more professional and create a better campaign.

There are different ways in which they could have taken the campaign, but they opted for the wrong one.

This failure probably wouldn't be so interesting if it were an ad by a small business. The lack of experience in influencer marketing can lead you to some misguided decisions. However, there is no excuse for Khloé and Febreze.

Misleading Link

In the caption, you can see a URL link. It seems like a move by an amateur. Social media now gives you options such as swipe up to shop, or you can head to the virtual shop.

How can someone expect that users will take the time to copy the link, open the web browser, paste the link, and then see the web page? URL in the caption should be the thing of the past.

However, there is an even bigger problem than adding a link in the caption. Khloé says that the link will take you to her favorite scent. Once you click the link, you will land on a page with links to external retailers where you can purchase Febreze. The following is what you'll see if you click on the link:

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No sign of her favorite scent. No sign of Khloé.

Completely incomprehensible.

While she promises that you can check out her favorite scent, you only see the places where Febreze is available. Such a mistake shouldn't even happen to an inexperienced influencer. 

Febreze maybe even spent a million on their collaboration.

At least what they could do is to create a landing page with one scent and Khloé's face. That could have saved the situation.

What can surprise many is how this got approved by Febreze?
It is vital that the brand is involved in the process and gets a final say. Don't
let the campaign get out of your hands by giving complete freedom to the

Authenticity Gap

The main reason why commenters rushed to share their opinion is the absurdity of Khloé being a promoter of a cleaning product. No one could find a logical relation between Khloé and Febreze.

She doesn't run a cleaning company, and she doesn't clean her house on her own. Instagram commenters just couldn't get over the sheer absurdity of Khloé promoting a household cleaning product.

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Influencer marketing relies on trust and honesty. What
differs it from typical ads is that users trust in influencers to make genuine
recommendations. They look up to them, but that trust needs to be justified.

When you team up with an influencer who has nothing to do
with your niche, the influencer marketing loses its charm. You should always look into how influencer's posts and lifestyle relate to your business and products.

It would be as if you hire a fashion influencer who is only
interested in beauty products to do a sponsored ad of fishing equipment.

Khloé's post is a clear example of the "authenticity gap." Branded messaging needs to be clear, honest, and authentic. What
they could have done to close the gap is to share Khloé's general experience with Febreze.

The history behind this partnership would create familiarity and clarity of Khloé's collaboration with this brand.

Several feed posts that gradually introduce their partnership would create a more user-friendly experience. They could have made a special scent for Khloé and get her to promote it. That would attract more users who want their home to smell like Khloé's. With alterations such as these, the partnership wouldn't get so much negative attention.

Lessons from This Typical Failed Influencer Marketing Effort

Collaborating with Khloé isn't the best campaign that Febreze sponsored, but everyone is allowed to make mistakes. Don't let such mistakes to be in vain. They can be an important lesson of influencer marketing that will save you from experiencing a similar outcome. Here are a few lessons you should keep in mind:

  • Don't lose control over the campaign. You should always have the final say.
  • Check whether the post matches the goal of the campaign. It should send the right message.
  • Don't rush it. Sometimes campaigns demand time. Allow the influencer to present your products in the best light. 
  • Match the tone to the content. Decide whether the post will be inspiring, serious, funny, or thought-provoking.
  • Find an influencer who is relatable to your target audience. Your collaboration should make sense.
  • Be honest. Whatever your influencer is saying, it should be genuine.

Final Thoughts

What we can all learn from this is that no one is bulletproof in influencer marketing. Even the queen of sponsored content and experienced brand can fail in their intent to promote products.

The problem is that some don't take influencer marketing seriously. A few wrong steps can get your business a lot of negative responses. Use these lessons to set up pillars of successful influencer marketing campaigns.