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Influencer Definition And How It Became A Thing
The term “influencer” may seem like a fairly new addition to our lexicon, but first uses date back to the 1660s. Still, its application to social media—relatively new in its own right—is a more recent phenomenon.
While the “very first” commercial influencer may be lost somewhere in the annals of history, product packaging and magazine adverts of yesteryear provide a breadcrumb trail that tracks the early evolution of influencer marketing. From Aunt Jemima, to the Marlboro Man, to Santa Claus, fictitious characters have offered tried and true ways to establish a personalized connection between products and consumers.
Celebrity product endorsements, another form of influencer marketing, first appeared in the 18th century, where royalty was used to advertise the prestige of luxury goods. As celebrity endorsements evolved, popular figures in the arts, such as actors and musicians, as well as athletes and businesspeople, were tapped by brands to promote a variety of products and services.