What the Hell Is a Genuinfluencer?

And how is that pronounced?

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Move over Kardashians, according to a British trend forecasting company, you’re out, and something called “genuinfluencers” are in. According to WGSN, Gen Z has no interest in face-tuned selfies accompanied by a caption about flat tummy tea, and are much more interested in “information.” I assume that means pastel-colored infographics about whichever hot-button social issue is dominating the news at the moment.

Just as an aside, how do we think “genuinfluncer” is pronounced? Where is the emphasis? Is it “gen-U-influencer” or “genuine-fluencer?” Was any thought given to the fact that when written out “genuinfluencer” looks like something from a medical textbook? It feels like maybe we could have gone with something like “realfluencer” or “info-encer,” those are bad too but I think they might be a little better the “genuinfluencer.”

Ignoring the fact that genuinfluencers is an incredibly clunky portmanteau that probably could have gone through a couple rounds of edits, the report seems to hold some water. Trend forecaster Geraldine Wharry told The Guardian, “Being too ‘aspirational’ is seen as almost repellent now by many generation-Zers, who favor platforms such as TikTok because of this.”

One influencer namechecked in the Guardian’s reporting is Tinx, a TikTok star who takes her audience with her as she goes about her bicoastal life, getting salads at Erewhon and sushi at Nobu Malibu. Relatable? No, but she is incredibly candid about every aspect of her life, which has earned her more than a million followers on the app… and brand deals with Chipotle and Kiehl’s.

In a past life I helped create influencer campaigns, and can tell you that this is how every creative strategist worth their exorbitant hourly rate has been thinking about influencers for the past year or so. Gen Z can want their influencers to be as authentic as they want, brands are still going to find a way to sell shit through people with an engaged and sizable audience. If that means making an infographic about how Twix supports BIPOC voices or whatever, that’s what they’ll do.