Don't you worry about those poor social influencers, in times of quarantine when they can't pose in sunsets on the beach or do yoga with a view somewhere, they can earn their influencer coin by being mouthpieces for the government in the Netherlands!
I mean, you'd think everyone had gotten the message to "stay home" by now, but Prime Minister Rutte enlisted among others: Rutger Vink, Sophie Milzink, Didi Shanna, Thomas Brok, Bilal Wahib, Defano Holwijn and Qucee participate in the "alone together" campaign. They are paid via Talpas.
Each influencer scripted their own ideas, and had them approved by the ministry of health, before publishing.
I'm not going to knock the use of influencers, trying new media channels to ensure the message reaches the target is always a good idea, but I question if this was really necessary. After all, people were already telling each other about social distancing in various ways, including in very silly skits that have gone viral. Like this one below, where the server throws the beer a customer has ordered in their face, and the customer pays for it by throwing the money at the server saying "keep the change". Social distancing problems, man.
A few disgruntled voices have appeared as some note people have been spreading this message already on social media, for free, and already a few weeks ago. The one advantage you'd think social media influencer would have is speed. After all, they only had to film themselves at their house, it's not a big production.
Dennis here notes that he "did it for free last week", and quote tweets himself. His media shows a bunch of people crowding around the cherry blooms in a park, while a government sign asks people to social distance - and he has scribbled "corona symptoms: sudden illiteracy" as a sarcastic poke at the people in the photo.
De @Rijksoverheid heeft 'n handjevol influencers voor een paar duizend euro p.p. eenmalig gevraagd hun volgers een boodschap mee te willen geven om nu toch echt thuis te blijven.
Komen ze nu mee...
— Dennis Gerritsen (@Dennboss) April 1, 2020
Legendarily influential website "Geenstijl" also takes note of this, and tries to dig deeper into how much this influencer campaign actually cost. They believe the number is an astonishing 60,000 to 100,000 euros. While a spokesperson for the ministry of general affairs won't state the actual rate, they did say: "Both Talpa and the influencers have applied a lower rate because of the corona crisis." Aw, well isn't that nice of them.
Dutch politician Thierry Baudet even confronted Prime Minister Rutte about this campaign, asking how many were paid and specifically how much it cost. He had to repeat his question; "but how expensive? and the uncharachterisc response from Rutte was to wave him away like an annoying fly.
While it's entirely possible they paid a lot less than € 7500 to € 12,500 per influencer to communicate the message that we should all stay indoors, it still seems a bit of waste from where I'm sitting.
Every single creative person and their uncle are using their newfound spare time to make skits, posters, designs, witty comments, and even song and dance routines to communicate this message. For once, the governments of the world including the Netherlands could have walked away from all the complicated creative executions and just focused on pure factual information in official channels instead.
Whatever extra money the governments have should really go to raising the salary of everyone working in healthcare, including the custodians who keep hospitals clean, at this point.