Influencers: the new dream job of almost everyone right now. They have the beauty of working from wherever they want, creating exciting content, and getting cool opportunities. One of the many perks of working in this growing industry is receiving “PR packages.” If you watch any influencer’s Instagram story, YouTube vlog, or TikTok, you might notice they are constantly receiving PR packages filled with free goodies from a variety of companies. Some big influencers even receive PR packages from luxury designers. All of these companies send free products in hopes of the influencer advertising their product on their social media platforms.
Speaking from personal experience: this strategy works. There have been countless times when my friends and I are shopping and see items that our favorite influencers have been posting about. Since we appreciate these people and trust their opinion, we feel inclined to buy those products. Yet, I believe the key to reaching success with PR packages is that it has to be done the correct way.
Many influencers specialize in a certain area with their content. There are beauty gurus, fashion stylists, home-improvement celebrities, and more. If a company wishes to partner with or send free products to an influencer, they should choose someone who specializes in a field related to their product. If a gamer receives a package from a makeup company, it will likely be a waste of money as it will probably not convince viewers to purchase the makeup. Additionally, viewers can often tell when the influencer is promoting a product they do not actually like, which is why it’s important to choose the right influencer for your product. Overall though, PR packages seem to be a great strategy used by companies to entice consumers to buy their products.
Companies may find that sending out PR packages is a cheaper alternative to creating a full-production commercial. It is an innovative form of advertising that is a great byproduct of the continuously growing field of social media.
Still, some questions have been raised about whether or not this process is ethical. These influencers are receiving daily packages from multiple companies that are filled to the brim with products. The majority of the time, it is impossible for the influencers to use all of the products. For example, some makeup companies send influencers different shades of the same product. There are only so many shades one person could use, which means all these other bottles are wasted. If the influencer is responsible, they may take some of their product and donate it to local shelters — or just those in need — but people question how many influencers will take it upon themselves to do this. Additionally, there are also emissions of black carbon from all of the different packages getting constantly shipped around the world.
However, while the ethical circumstances of this concept are questionable, the concept of PR packages has been a great way to increase brand exposure. It forms a mutualistic relationship between companies and influencers.
Rowan Fossella, a Member of the PRSSA 2022-2023 Publications Committee, is a sophomore at Villanova University majoring in communication with a public relations concentration. She joined the PRSSA publications committee following her experience with the first Villanova Student-run Firm. In high school, Rowan interned at the Staten Island District Attorney’s office, where she began to explore the field of public relations. Here she realized the importance of PR and its ability to help others. If you are interested in contacting Rowan, you may reach her via Linkedin.