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How influencer culture impacted celebrity culture

Luthando ‘LootLove’ Shosha is the face of the new offering from Krone Cap Classique, the Night Nectar Blanc De Blancs 2018. PICTURE: Supplied

Luthando ‘LootLove’ Shosha is the face of the new offering from Krone Cap Classique, the Night Nectar Blanc De Blancs 2018. PICTURE: Supplied

Published May 3, 2022


There are many things that influencer culture has done. Beyond just cutting out the middle man (ie the traditional media) but it has also forced celebrities to change the way they think about themselves and their brands.

In recent years, personalities globally have shelved relying on what traditional media has to say about them, choosing to be their own representatives and like influencers, speak directly to their fans.

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This has, in a way, been important in order for them to secure their place in the celebrity hierarchy and prove their mettle as brands. For them to know what their fans like and expect from them.

For some public figures, this has to lead to having to change how they have approached their careers, their image and what they do. Everyone has become even more aware of what their USP is and how that gives them the edge over their peers.

Luthando ‘LootLove’ Shosha is the face of the new offering from Krone Cap Classique, the Night Nectar Blanc De Blancs 2018. PICTURE: Supplied

Take the recent announcement of Luthando ‘LootLove’ Shosha as the face of the new offering from Krone Cap Classique, the Night Nectar Blanc De Blancs 2018.

Beyond the Apple music host and TV personality having a pre-existing relationship with the winemakers, she has also taken charge of her brand.

The same can be said of her peers, Tshepi Vundla who is a fashion entrepreneur, TV personality and rapper, Boity Thulo, and Dineo Langa, an actress, presenter and entrepreneur.

Vundla, Thulo and Langa have been named the faces of luxury beverage brands- GH Mumm, Moet et. Chandon and JC Le Roux Nectar.

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Alcohol brands and celebrity partnerships are quite the pairing, and over the years have proven to be successful when done right. AKA has formed a solid relationship with Cruz Vodka. The Fela In Versace star became the brand’s face in 2016.

Zoe Msutwana, who is the head of strategy at Orchard on 25, a PR management and influencer marketing agency, says that part of the reason local stars are being picked to be the faces of luxury beverages is that consumer ideologies have shifted since the Covid-19 outbreak.

“The outbreak has kind of forced us to a hard level paradigm shift. The results are that it has been a forcing function on how stories are told, and what consumers expect and want to hear from brands.

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“In 2022, consumers are no longer interested in big production commercials from brands, instead, they rely on people, through influencers and consumer advocates to learn about new and exciting products.

“This insight is what is driving the luxury beverages to rely on South African personalities as a communication channel to help them deepen their connections with their desired audience,” she said.

Shosha echoed her words, speaking about her current collaboration with Krone.

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“I think if you are going to tell a story to South Africans about your brand, be it wine or clothing, you have to use South Africans to carry the message across and to make people understand what is happening.

“I think before, brands used to want to impose their strategies taken from their international counterparts, using the exact same formula as them and it doesn't work out because it's not meant for the South African audience.

“You have to understand the South African market,” she said.

Shosha, who first made her debut on South African TV as a contestant on the SABC 1 Live AMP presenter search a decade ago, she has grown up in front of our eyes and has built a fan base that has known her since her teens until currently, as a mother of twins.

It is a fan base that voted for her to win the presenter search and has grown up with her.

“I think it's because of how we do the things my contemporaries and I do and how we manoeuvre in the industry.

“We are an expressive generation. We are very exciting, interesting, forward-thinking and we really are the reason that the younger generation is experiencing life at the pace they are living it now.

“Any brand would be interested in that energy that we bring,” Shosha said.

Has there been a concerted effort from SA's public figures to change their image to appeal to these brands? Msutwana says she has definitely seen a shift in how SA personalities show up and communicate online.

“Over the past two years, we have seen growth. There are a few basics that have to be adhered to in order to appeal to brands in this space.

“Whether it's quality, creativity, or engagement, a lot of our personalities are doing the groundwork on their part, which is resulting in the alignments that we are currently seeing,” Msutwana said.

For Shosha, it’s all about being authentic enough to attract brands to work with you. That, and growing into an authentic personal brand that will attract collaboration opportunities.

She was recently at the Coachella music festival, in Indio, California, in the Coachella Valley, where she was one of the global influencers for BMW. It made sense because of her work as a presenter on radio, TV and Apple Music.

“I have always been true to myself at all times, depending on what stage I am in my life. I've always been open to change, not because of external pressures. It was though, at the beginning of my career.

I was afraid of being misunderstood and people's perceptions of me and who I am. I was so different from everyone else in the presenting game, which kind of made me stick out even more.

Eventually, I learned that it was the best thing about me. It is that authenticity that has led to every brand collaboration relationship I have right now.

After having children, it has given me the room to be myself at all times and that has attracted brands to want to work with me.

“Post-pandemic, we have all gone through so much, and one of the things is the importance of valuing ourselves as people. Our space and our time. And I really value what I put my attention into,” Shosha said.

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