Influencer Aspirations

Well before “Mad Men,” Hollywood’s golden-era seemed often to glamorize the advertising executive, and between then and now came classics with characters in advertising roles such as the TV series “Bewitched” or the movie “Kate & Leopold.” And rightly so, as advertising is a big deal. Superbowl LVI (that’s “56” for you non-Romans) charged $VII million for a 30-second commercial, and we were bombarded by premium ads for crypto currency, unhealthy snacks, Amazon, and Rocket Mortgage.

Those are lucrative positions, both the one strategizing how to make the multitude crave and behave, and the celebrity making it happen. But today you don’t have to be Brad Pitt or Serena Williams to steer the masses; you can simply declare yourself an “influencer.” Or, if you are not so full of yourself but want a taste of that social power, start as a “micro influencer,” which, also, “is a thing.” At the least, work those millennials in your zip code.

Influencers are the parallel to Pepsi bottles labels-out at the American Idol judges’ desk, or Target totes showing up in “A Million Little Things” (a series some have tagged “A Million Big Target Bags”). Influencers are those similarly authentic, real-world actor-experts who aim to convince the new consumer what is best and coolest and carries a minimal carbon footprint. And by “new consumer” I mean anyone who thinks the world spins inside their smartphone. Which should be a concern because apparently things are getting way too hot and that can shut down any electronic device.

Like TV shows, influencers have followers, but the two scenarios differ. Product placement in TV shows is generally off-putting because commercials are supposed to happen during the break. This is America—there’s an appropriate time and place for saturating our brains with manipulative marketing. We choose to subscribe to Netflix shows or YouTube channels, not to a series of Chevrolet commercials. Yet millennials subscribe directly to influencers, who are, by definition, product placement pros.

I suppose I am a fuddy-duddy, wary of influencer as a legitimate career choice, yet I read that $5 billion is invested in social media recruitment in conjunction with the Coachella festival every April. I can only guess how that works, yet it has been called “the Olympics for influencers.” I hope these adorable guys and gals (and neither-nors) make the most of their time away from their parents’ lofts by bringing their A-game and extra eyelashes. Things could get real, as they say. Economically, I suspect what may be happening, though, is that the $5 billion is eventually funded by parental credit card payments come May.

To get a cut of that obscene purse, may I suggest not self-declaring for the job, but working through a legitimate application process. You’ll want to make sure that e.l.f. Cosmetics and Beyond Meat will keep you around for the long haul until all the world’s animals are treated right. Here’s your checklist:


  • No evidence of Facebook activity in the last calendar year. Too retrocious.
  • Along the same lines: No actual e-mail correspondence in your outbox, and your inbox is primarily filled with subscription confirmations.
  • 100:1 or greater ratio of social media friends to actual friends. (Note: “actual friends” are the physical forms that you see—that will talk to you using sounds—when you aren’t looking at your iPhone; Ask Mom or Dad about “ratio” if needed.)


  • 3-5 pics of yourself doing really expensive, fun things that you think everyone else does.
  • 3-5 pics of yourself simply being awesome but making it look easy. Suggested but not required: include one with duck lips (girls) or effortless flexing (guys) or, alternately, shocking tat coverage (all other identifications).
  • Submit properly touched-up and enhanced pics but be sure to include #nofilter
  • A DM including what you believe you are all about (regardless of what you actually do or what your extended family or peers say).
  • dm formatting rules just like in this paragraph. as an example. use no italics or punctuation except periods *a period is same as a dot* use no uppercase letters to start stuff or names n places etc etc XCEPT all cap words are SUPER here n there. use weak or overused verbs like the word use *if you must use verbs at all cuz adjectives are AWESOME* and use at least 18 hashtags that you would use. if the dm was a post

Good luck with the process! If you sincerely believe in yourself, it will of course happen. If you would rather pass on this career opportunity, that’s fine as well: “you. do. you.” as they say (extra leisure time allows for awkward pauses). But if you aren’t going to be an influencer yourself, please let me know when you spot one in the wild so I can share your excitement. I always like to mention how I saw Robert Redford by the Ore House in Sun Valley or Arnold and Maria at Java on Fourth in Ketchum.

Copyright © 2022 Richard Berndt – All Rights Reserved.

Leave a Reply

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: