On Friday, June 21st, Marissa Casey Fuchs — director of brand partnerships at GOOP — had the engagement proposal of a lifetime in Paris. In addition, she had also had a romantic few days of travel with her now-fiancé Gabriel Grossman, during which they stopped in New York, the Hamptons and Miami before finally reaching Paris. Best of all, the whole trip and proposal was documented meticulously on social media for Fuchs’ then-200K followers to see.
At first glance, it may seem like a sweet story and an amazing gesture on Grossman’s part. But it was quickly revealed through an insider leak that the whole trip — including every restaurant, hotel and venue the couple would visit — was planned in detail as a marketing stunt. The proposal scavenger hunt had been pitched to brand marketers and agencies as a “a one-of-a-kind proposal experience for a one-of-a-kind female ambitionist” in an attempt to recruit sponsorships:
Soon the bad PR was widespread across major media outlets. Situations like this one go to show why it is crucial that brands vet Instagram influencers for authenticity before working with them. No marketer wants to be caught up in an elaborate fake marriage proposal or they would end up worse off than where they started. Marketing stunts like Fuchs’ are not uncommon, which goes to show the necessity of influencer vetting through a platform like HYPR.
The HYPR platform allows users to discover and vet fashion influencers such as Fuchs with tools including our Instagram Audience Health metric. This metric uses AI and machine learning to analyze billions of social accounts and conversations instantly — scoring real, active followers, not bots. In Marissa’s case, she received a below-average score of 50/100, indicating she has low-quality followers that may have been purchased.
The tool itself detects unusual jumps in follower counts over time, especially from specific geographic regions, to predict foul play. It also finds suspicious comments with repetitive, generic comments or typos across different posts. It sniffs out volatility such as a sudden rise in engagement on posts, without an obvious explanation. Essentially, the tool sorts out real people from robots thanks to cues like profile pictures, stock photos, and follower counts. The result is an easy-to-understand grade on the health of an influencer’s followers. This helps brands avoid PR scandals like this one and find real influencers with real followers, so you get real campaign results.
Our platform managed to prove that Fuchs not only staged her proposal for marketing purposes, but she has also bought followers in the past and has inauthentic audience engagement. Influencer marketing platforms such as HYPR can help discover influencers, vet them for fraud, and examine their audience interests and engagement rates.
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