June 20, 2024
Social Tip: the BrewDog founder’s new social media influencer platform
Social Tip: the BrewDog founder’s new social media influencer platform

Former BrewDog CEO James Watt has launched SOCIAL TIP, an influencer platform that counts brands including Huel and PureGym among its clients. The platform aims to “help turn a brand’s customers into their influencers” because Gen Z are allergic to anything that looks or feels like marketing...” How does it work? The consumer buys the brand’s product, the consumer posts the brand on social media and then Social Tip issues cash based on reach and engagement. It sounds simple, but the platform will likely come up against a few challenges, namely compliance with UK advertising laws, controls over the use of IP and PR and brand image control.


UK advertising laws

The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has specific codes around social media and influencer marketing. Social Tip instructs users to “Create+Postusing #socialtip and @mention the brand”. However, the ASA states that tags “@ mention”, “sponsored” and “affiliate” are insufficient and posters should include “ad” to avoid facing an ASA complaint.

IP controls

Brands doing deals with influencers will have careful controls over what IP can be used and how. Enabling all consumers to be influencers may give rise to more unauthorised use of a brand’s IP, including comparative advertising. Generative AI may also impact how a brand’s IP is used in influencer reviews.

PR and brand image

Influencer agreements often contain careful controls over how an influencer talks about a brand. Social Tip and would-be influencers may not have the same checks and balances in place to ensure compatibility.

This means that there are a few questions still left to be answered about how the platform will operate, and how it will be received.

  • How will this concept be received? Is it incentivising additional consumption, or similar to existing cashback models?
  • Will it align with a brand’s general value proposition and CSR?
  • Will the EU object to this business model due to it being addictive? (see TikTok Lite’s reward programme being shelved over similar concerns).

New social media models still need to comply with existing regulations. This means that IP needs to be patrolled carefully when post-sale, would-be influencers are involved. Democratising influencers may also lead to PR issues due to brand image incompatibility and wider government consumer welfare concerns.


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