Instagram: The New Era of Advertising

Everyday millions of Instagram users spend hours scrolling through their smart phones to view filtered photos, typically those that they “follow” or come across through #hashtags. According to the brand’s website, there are currently 150 million users, 60 billion photos uploaded, and an average of 1.2 million “likes” per day.  (website: As consumers, it is understood that these photos are a reflection of such users “brands”, and the photos they choose to share are typically selected and edited to portray a desired image of themselves. Whether it’s goods they just purchased, activities they partake in, or flattering photos of themselves, Instagram gives consumers the opportunity to advertise their individuality for free.

Aside from everyday consumers trying to convey an image of themselves, products, celebrities, and other organizations are able to use this platform to brand themselves however they choose. In some cases, celebrities intertwine their “brand” with a product or service that they endorse. For example, singer Ellie Goulding, who recently became an advocate and endorser for “Nike” products, shares several photos of her outlandish lifestyle to all 2.3 million followers.. Known for her eccentric, hip, and alternative style, Goulding also posts photos of herself in her athletic gear, where there is always a “Nike’’ logo.

Within IMC, it is understood that there are both controlled and uncontrolled messages. Advertising is a a controlled and planned message that is executed through a particular medium to reach target audiences. The “Nike” brand is consistently advertised through Goulding’s photos, however, Nike does not have control over which photos she captures. It seems as though Nike and Ellie Goulding have a sort of symbiotic relationship right now, with Ellie promoting Nike products and Nike in turn supporting/promoting Ellie’s Music.

“Nike and recording artist Ellie Goulding are releasing an exclusive remix album from Goulding’s second album, “Halcyon,” to inspire the thousands of women joining Ellie to run 13.1 miles on April 28.” (Nike inc.)

It is important to note however that Ellie is not an employee of Nike and that while it may be in her best interest to safeguard their relationship could she inadvertantly tarnish the Nike brand without being aware of it? This raises an important question: How much control do companies have over the “brand” that their endorsers convey? In the meantime however the relationship between the two will most likely prove beneficial for both parties as many fans of Goulding follows her on her Instagram page. Will it soon become commonplace for all celebrities to endorse particular products in exchange for publicity of their own?

This social media phenomenon has given advertisers a plentitude of opportunities to shape and select their brand image, and then after share it in a “likeable” manner.

-Austin Johnson, Jade Lester, Jami Rogers, Ty Thomas