Influencer Marketing: The Origin

Influencer Marketing: The Origin

In this blog, we are going to talk about how influencer marketing started. The term ‘Influencer Marketing’ has been on the mind of many marketeers for the past few years. However, the idea of influencer marketing & influencers is not new. Although, it is far from a new concept; a trip down memory lane will help us understand how it all began.

The Queen and the Pope:

A long time ago, The Queen and The Pope were the very first influencers. They used to endorse medicine to common people who weren’t believers yet; promoting the benefits of medicine and why one should use them.

Back in the 18th century, there was a porter who was ahead of his time. Wedgewood is said to be the father of modern marketing. Although the term ‘branding’ was not something he coined. He understood that earning the trust of his customers was fundamental to the success of his business; ensured that his products were hyped in the press. He proposed a tea set to Queen Charlotte, which earned him a certain status. Capitalizing on his status of “porter to the Queen”. As a result, he was able to extend his brand into the mass market. Consequently, the brand received the status of ‘a luxury brand’ which it still enjoys today.

Back in the day, the pope had a big influence on the people. One could even say he was one of the first influencers in the realm of influencer marketing

Influencer Marketing: Brand Personalities

Around the 1920s, brands would create a persona which would be the face of the brand. These personas would trigger the purchase decision of the consumers emotionally.

An iconic character from this time was Santa Claus by Coca-Cola. While Coca-Cola did not create the legend of Santa. Their advertising did play a big role in shaping the white-bearded, jolly character image we all have embedded in our minds today. The company’s campaign evolved showing Santa in a range of recognizable scenarios and this proved to be such a huge success. Moreover, in the year 1937, children started leaving out coke at night.

Another iconic character was Tony, the tiger who appeared on the covers of Kellog’s packaging. He was also an advertising icon who lasted for more than 55+ years as the face of Kellog’s frosted flakes.

No one back then used the term ‘influencers’. But the impact these personalities had on the consumers is similar to that of influencers today. Consumers are emotionally driven while making purchasing decisions. Having a face for brands helped consumers connect. Hence increasing their chances of being picked.

Santa was used as a character by coca cola.A form of influencer marketing

Influencer Marketing: Celebrity Endorsements

As time went on, more brands started to come into the market. Therefore, the consumers now had more choices. Due to which their decision-making process more complex. Additionally, the development of broadcast systems allowed commercials to be aired on radio and TV. As a result, the created emotional bond for the made-up personalities was no longer enough to convince a consumer during the process of decision making. Thus, brands started advertising testimonials of these celebrities who use their brand. The publicity of the celebrity attracted buyers.

In 1984, Micheal Jordan signed a contract of $2.5 million with Nike. In addition to this, in the first year, Nike managed to sell 70 million dollars worth.

Micheal Jordan signed a contract with NIke. A form of influencer marketing

Influencer Marketing Today:

Slowly but steadily social media started taking over. Millennials and GenZ want social proof before they decide to buy anything.

The first platform used for influencer marketing was Facebook. Amazon then partnered with Facebook. As a result of which, people could now see what their families and friends bought. Studies had shown that recommendations from friends and family influence purchases.

At this time, we have various social media platforms(Instagram, YouTube). Anyone can create content online. Information is abundant and it has noticed that consumers tend to believe/trust a competent or reliable expert. Consumers sympathize more with influencers who are experts in their field (fashion, beauty, food). It is much more than testimonials. Influencers spend time creating content which they sell to brands who use it to convince the consumers.


Influencers act as the middle man. They assure that their content will reach the right target audience to the marketeers and trustworthy recommendations to the consumers. A highly discussed topic right now is-whether or not marketeers should hop on to the bandwagon of influencer marketing. The influencer marketing industry is currently a billion-dollar industry. If you think, influencer marketing is the right choice for you. We are always ready to assist you.

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