Ariel have perfectly demonstrated how not to do influencer marketing

Written by Ian Leckey.
· 2 minute read

Influencer marketing continues to be at the forefront of digital marketing hype, and yet we continue to see the majority of brands completely missing the point.

The latest brand falling foul of the pitfalls of influencer marketing is Ariel, who have recently run a campaign across Instagram to increase awareness of their 3-in-1 pods. The concept is pretty simple; provide ‘influential’ Tough Mudder competitors with their product to help them get their kit clean after competing. Makes sense right? If you’re going to be racing across 8+ miles of mud soaked mayhem, you’re either going to want to bin your kit, or give it a damn good clean in order to ensure it’s wearable again.

The problem for Ariel however lies in the execution. Just take a look at the examples below and tell me that they give you any urgency to purchase washing detergent…

First off we have Olympic Snowboarder Katie Ormerod just chilling by the canal performing the type of exercise most of us could only dream of. Oh, and like any normal human being working out, she just so happens to have brought her washing pods along with her…


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A post shared by Katie Ormerod (@ormerodkatie) on

Up next is this couple sharing a romantic evening in with a bunch of flowers, and oh, what’s that? A box of chocolates? No, it’s a box of Ariel pods. Even ignoring the underlying sexism in these posts, what could possibly be more romantic than washing detergent?


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A post shared by Tom Bliss (@tomblissfit) on


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A post shared by Courtney Victoria Pruce (@courtneypruce) on

Up next is this dude who has just realised he’s put his socks in the washing machine but forgotten to add any detergent.


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A post shared by Chris Williamson (@chriswillx) on

Anyway, you get the picture (and if you want some more ridiculous examples of ‘influencers’ posing with Ariel Pods, check out #ArielPods).

Unfortunately this is very much a case of a half decent idea executed badly…like really badly. When you actually scratch the surface, you also realise that Ariel have been working with these influencers to increase awareness of how to store chemicals safely so as not to put children at risk, but if we’re being honest, who really thought that was the point of the above posts?

Now some blame must lie with the influencers involved who have created nicely stylised shots, but largely missed the point in their imagery which is clearly key on a channel like Instagram. Ultimately however, the blame lies with the team running the campaign who either haven’t briefed their influencers properly, and have therefore ended up with a campaign that falls flat.

Cases like this continue to highlight not only the importance of focussing on influence over reach, but also how vital it is to have a strong plan and set of objectives as part of any influencer marketing campaign.