Don’t worry, this isn’t a “Get off my lawn!!” post, but I would like to share my thoughts on product ambassador programs. I’m not here to talk you out of becoming an ambassador, but I will tell you the reasons I choose not to become one.
For your benefit, I will limit my reasons to five:
1) I feel like the participants/ambassadors are being used – There is an obligation on their part to say good things about products because they are getting free items. How can the ambassadors be objective? Is this set up to be more beneficial for the ambassadors or for the company? It seems like free advertising to me.
2) It sometimes comes off as Fraternity-ish / Sorority-ish / Elitist – Some people get selected as ambassadors and others don’t. Why? What is the criteria? I’ve seen people on Twitter that were devastated when they weren’t selected as an ambassador for a particular company. It comes off as exclusionary.
3) I’m not sure where fashion fits in to running – I’m more of a “just run” person. Do I want to be comfortable while running? Yes, the performance clothes / sneakers should fit properly. I won’t begrudge others for injecting fashion into the running process. If it attracts people to the sport, fine. I always get excited when a person starts running, and if “fashion” gets them to do it, so be it; however, is the product the right product for someone simply because that consumer thinks it looks good? Also, I want to know if fashion keeps people running over a lifetime. I would hope, but I’m doubtful. I hope I’m wrong.
4) The term “Flock” itself – Oiselle uses this term, and it troubles me. Flock is defined by Merriam Webster as:
1 – a group of animals (as birds or sheep) assembled or herded together
2 – a group under the guidance of a leader; especially a church congregation
It implies a collective “herd” mentality, or that we can’t think for ourselves. Running is a very individualized sport. Yes, there are running groups and running clubs, and we often want to feel like we are part of something bigger, but at the end of the day, nobody runs for us. We do the work. Despite the running community being an amazing group, running is basically a very “me” thing.
5) The hashtag – Ambassadors hashtag their brands / brand’s slogans to death. I get inundated with this, and suffer from product fatigue before even trying the product. In fact, this “pushing” of the product makes me want to “run” the other way.
In the world of social media, we get much more than the 30 second advertisement for a product. At times, we are exposed to a product every time we open a particular App. Companies have more exposure, but we become the victims of this product fatigue.