With so many aspiring to be a social media influencer these days, the numbers here have burgeoned in recent years, with many flooding our social media space with their carefully curated posts, well-coiffed hair and impeccable style. Hold your brickbats though. Say what you will about this group of social media savvy individuals, it’s undeniable that some of them have a celebrity-like status and yield quite a bit of, well, influence, especially among younger audiences.
Of course, there’s no shortage of sagas when there’s that many of them. While most of these trendsetters are in the spotlight for the right reasons, some unfortunately end up gaining notoriety after landing themselves in undesirable situations. From scuffles among themselves to sexual harassment accusations and Photoshop fails, there’s plenty to talk about. We rank the top 13 scandals that have rocked the influencer world in the past two years according to their shock factor on a scale of one to 13, with one being the most jaw-dropping.
13. Influencers and the Singapore Budget
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Before we penned down our signatures to seal our union for #KenTingWeds, there was a lot of planning done to make sure we worked within our budget and planned our finances well for our future together. 💸 Similarly, the Singapore government has to plan the #SGBudget ahead to help us Singaporeans and support our businesses in the next Financial Year, and our President will pen down her signature as assent for the enactment of the Supply Bill. 🖋 If you didn’t know, the #SGBudget2018 is a strategic financial plan to position Singapore & Singaporeans; and you can actually voice your thoughts & needs to help the Government plan this! 💡 Read more on the Budget 2018 at http://bit.ly/kaitinghearts 📲 #sp #MOFSG #ministryoffinance #MOFxStarNgage
In a move that raised eyebrows, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) partnered with more than 50 social media influencers to promote Budget 2018 on Instagram. Several posts peppered with hashtags like #SGBudget2018 and #MOFSGxStarNgage sprung up in January, with these personalities highlighting various pre-Budget feedback listening points and the REACH Pre-Budget 2018 microsite. An MOF spokesperson said it was “an effective way to engage with youth participants”, and they had paid them in line with market rates.
However, the initiative drew mixed reactions, with many questioning the effectiveness of the campaign beyond generating awareness. Some also pointed out glaring errors and typos, such as an influencer describing MOF as (gasp) the “Singapore Government of Finance”, while others lambasted the influencers for using irrelevant photos to spread the message.
12. Melissa Celestine Koh’s sponsored wedding
Melissa Koh’s (@melissackoh) August 2017 wedding hit the headlines after some guests were reportedly annoyed to find that it was heavily sponsored. Her wedding was a lavish affair, with a flower bar where people could design their own hand bouquets, a counter where makeup artists can give guests a makeover using Dior cosmetics, and wedding favours in the form of TWG tea, macarons and artisanal soap. In the days that followed the wedding, Melissa went on to post shoutouts to various brands involved in the wedding, such as crystal brand Swarovski and luxury jeweller Tiffany & Co.
Guests interviewed by The Straits Times said they felt cheated as the sponsorships made the wedding feel insincere, while others said they felt they didn’t need to give too much in their ang bao (red packet) since virtually everything was paid for. Some also said she should have declared the various sponsorships to guests prior to the wedding. Melissa and her husband James Chen later said they did seek sponsorships, although “most came to us”. They also said they did not profit from the wedding. “We did receive sponsorships, which gave us the means to celebrate in the way we did, but there were still large costs involved in the wedding,” they said. A storm in a teacup?