Snap-Sabbat lawsuit highlights that influencer marketing should be based on brand affinity

Anne Freier

In Influencer. November 6, 2018

Snap recently decided to sue digital influencer Luka Sabbat for failing to promote Snap Spectacles on his Instagram account.

Sabbat who appears on the TV series “Grown-ish” signed an influencer marketing agreement with PR Consulting Inc. in September to promote Spectacles in three Instagram Stories and one feed post.

The influencer has a total 1.4 million Instagram followers.

According to the law suit, he failed to post all three Stories as agreed and instead only posted one Story and one post to his feed.

Snap is seeking $45,000, which were paid upfront to Sabbat, and an additional $45,000 in damages according to the law suit.

Pierre-Loic Assayag, CEO and co-founder of influencer marketing platform Traackr, however, believes that Snap may have misjudged the role of influencer marketing. Assayag explains that celebrity endorsement usually pays a person online to promote a product. However, influencer marketing was based on a person’s actual affinity for a product or service and thus required a deeper relationship between a brand and an influencer.

“The lawsuit with Sabbat is likely a result of an inauthentic paid partnership that didn’t align with his personal brand or passions,” he said. “Seek affinity between the brand and the influencer before you enter into a contract and, if you don’t find it, spend time developing it before you enter in a relationship. This process clearly didn’t happen between Snap and Sabbat. Don’t ask your influencer to do something ‘unnatural.’ Even if they were to do it, they would lose their credibility, and thus their influence.”

The case demonstrates that it is better to find and work with influencers who are interested in a brand’s product rather than trying to buy an endorsement irrespective of brand-influencer trust.