In the last few years we saw a huge increase in the use of influencers as a way of promoting a variety of products, from make-up to restaurants, from clothing brands to dietary supplements. In a very short time, these new trend setters took a prominent role on almost all platforms (Tv, newspapers, social media and even songs), becoming actual celebrities and entering the world of pop culture. By now these new stars are a natural part of the advertisement and marketing world.
In this summer of 2020, truly unique and full of uncertainties, many sectors of our economy, that have in the summertime their moment of maximum profit, have found themselves not having enough time to come up with strategies and campaigns to attract clients despite the delicate moment. Best representative of this category is tourism. Even though for many European countries the worst seems to have gone by, its fundamental not to forget how day after day the number of new Covid-19 cases around the world keeps growing. In a very short time, the holiday season of 2020 went from being cancelled and postponed, to a summer that with some peculiarity, went back to having some semblance of normality. Tourist destinations, beaches and museums had to run for cover to create marketing campaigns able to engage those Italians, and maybe a few foreigners, that after almost three months of quarantine are dreaming of a small vacation.
The road many decided to take is to work with influencers. It takes just a quick scroll on Instagram to find a number of sponsored posts of Italian influencers, of various statuses that attract different kinds of audiences, show off the wonderful places they are visiting during their holidays.
In the past few days influencers were at the center of the national debate. There was a lot of talking around Chiara Ferragni and her visit to the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. The tour the entrepreneur took of the museum and the correlated post that the museum uploaded to their social media dived the country into two factions. Some people see the fact of “using” people like Chiara Ferragni absolutely not suitable for the sponsoring of such an important museum and its art, on the other there are other people that see this collaboration as a great opportunity to increase the notoriety of the museum but most of all to boost in both Italian and foreign tourist, especially in the younger generations, the desire to visit this temple of Italian culture. But this new phenomenon is not limited to international figures such as Chiara Ferragni. Many are the B and C list tv and web personalities that since the beginning of the summer have started collaborations with brands to support and promote some of those Italian locations that survive mainly on tourism and that in a holiday season like the one we are living though, with all the restrictions that Covid-19 has imposed, need all the visibility they can get. For example Cecilia Rodriguez, the younger sister of the soubrette Belen Rodriguez, embarked on a trip around Sicily, sponsored by the travel network TravelGram, posting every day on her Instagram account a journal with photos of all the different locations she has visited.
With the absence of many foreign tourist, with fear still keeping a lot of people away from long trips and with the economic hardship that the virus brought, Italy and its tourism need all the help they can get to push the sector in the best way possible. The use of influencers is without a doubt a tactic that pays off. After the visit of the social media star, in just a few days the Galleria degli Uffizi registered a growth in the number of visits of 27%, many of these by younger generations. So does it actually make sense and most importantly is it useful, in 2020, to consider inappropriate opening the cultural institutions of our country to celebrities that do not necessarily belong to this same world but can surely help these institutions to get rid of that aura of unapproachableness that too often characterizes them? Art and tourism have, for many years now, been going through rough times, because of founds cuts, pandemics and economic crisis. If help can come from young stars that have work hard to create for themselves a career on social media and that could maybe themselves be approaching the world of culture for the first time, why does that have to be a problem? If the use of new ways and methods can help, all the better. Italy is a country where culture and tourism go hand in hand, and we cannot afford to preclude one of these aspects to those people we don’t consider worthy.