Sustainable pee, influencers and politics at the Web Summit 0 855

“This is the very first time in my life that I am on the same stage as Wladimir Klitschko, Eric Catona and Ronaldinho. It is a privilege, but it could also be a risk.”

With light and pondering words, Michel Barnier, European Union’s Chief Negotiator for the United Kingdom exiting the European Union, opened his speech at the Web Summit on Tuesday (5), highlighting that to share the spotlight at the annual technology conference held in Lisbon with an Ukrainian boxer, a former French football player, and a former Brazilian football player, was anything but ordinary.

The unconventional nature of the attendees was not out of the ordinary, though. Now close to its 10th anniversary, the event which brings together Fortune 500 companies, ground-breaking start-ups and world-class speakers to Portugal, has been far from conventional since its first edition, held in Ireland in 2010, totaling a modest audience of only 400 people.

A decade later and the conference has grown from strength to strength.

This week the Web Summit welcomed over 70,000 attendees and 1,200 speakers, including top executives from companies such as Facebook, Uber, Shell, Fuji, Microsoft, Burger King, Volvo, BBC, Procter & Gamble, Google, Nokia, Philipps, Amazon. Not to mention, a representative from the American White House also attended.

This is the fourth year in which the event has been hosted in Portugal after leaving Ireland and, since then, the growth of the technology sector, coupled with the strength of start-ups, has led several European cities to show interest in hosting the event, including Valencia, which reportedly bid approximately € 170 million, in 2018, to become the event’s host for a decade. However, after negotiations with the Portuguese government, which pledged an annual budget of 11 million Euros to expand the arena hosting the event and the number of participants, the Web Summit has ended up staying in Lisbon.

Despite sporadic presentations that can sound more political than technological – such as Barnier’s one – the event firmly focused on what the future holds for companies and users, with brands such as Samsung considering how innovation will be part of our homes in 2025, Uber talking about its road ahead, BBC and Reuters TV debating if is there is a future for TV, and Amazon mapping the evolution from keyword searches to Artificial intelligence-enabled conversations.

New technology as a current topic also gave Facebook a chance to plug its virtual currency, Calibra; the audience, though, didn’t seem too keen to mix finance with social media in times of scandals involving social networks’ leaks and unauthorized sales of user data.

So, when it came to social media, activists and ‘The Vampire Diaries’ actor Ian Somerhalder, fared much better when talking about influence, building an online community and using social platforms such as Instagram and Facebook to engage followers with projects that can change the world.

Sustainable pee

Besides talks featuring world leaders, the WebSummit also hosted hundreds of start-ups from around the world exhibiting over five connected pavilions.

One of these companies was Piipee, which sells a biodegradable solution to replace the water which is used to flush after, you guessed it: peeing.

“It is an environmentally friendly option that works on the physical and chemical characteristics of urine, removing its odor, changing its color, odorizing and sanitizing the bathroom, all without using water. The idea came by chance in 2010 and, when I started to study the feasibility of this, I found studies showing that 80% of the water consumption of a toilet is only to eliminate urine. In São Paulo, for example, in Serra da Cantareira, one of the largest water treatment systems in Latin America, approximately 40% of this water is used for flushing toilets. These numbers caught my eye and I began to wonder if it really makes sense to treat water and then use it to flush toilets? – asks Ezequiel Vedana, the 31 years old Brazilian inventor of the eco-solution.

“It took five years before I could get the project off the ground because I don’t have a background in biochemistry; But I developed the idea, nevertheless. Being at the WebSummit is an opportunity to showcase ‘Piipee’ and to see what is new within the sustainable area across Europe and around the world. ”- celebrated Ezequiel

Although the product is still only available for sale through its own website, with the smallest spray bottle costing around $7 and lasting approximately 400 toilet flushes, Vedana is adamant that paying for a chemical additive, rather than simply flushing, is cheaper than the cost of water.

“Today our focus is on serving large companies, as it will take time for mass communities around the world to be fully aware of how important it is to save water. It takes a real change in culture and that change takes time because, for those who have access to it, water is relatively cheap. The product already makes sense in areas where there is a water shortage, as flushing a toilet consumes about 10 litres. However, even if it takes a few more years for people to use water wisely, the change has already started.”

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Marcio Delgado is a Journalist, speaker and a Content Producer working with brands and publications in the UK and Latin America.

Social committee proposes EU regulation on influencers 0 127

Perceived by consumers as closer, more authentic and more trustable than traditional advertising or celebrity endorsement, content creators are attracting more brand investment than ever: in 2022 alone, influencer marketing spend jumped from 3.69 billion to 4.14 billion in the U.S., according to data released by American inbound marketing platform Hubspot. The amount of cash trading hands pushed authorities to set standards for the Influencer marketing industry early on. So much so that, in the USA, influencer marketing is considered regulated since 2009, when the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) published for the first time a set of endorsement guides on sponsored content posted by content creators on behalf of brands – including influencers being required to disclose their relationships with companies in a clear way.

Over to Europe, the rules are not as clear.

Unlike traditional advertising, which is subject to very strict rules, influencer advertising can fall through the cracks of ad disclosure. The commercial nature of influencer posts is not always identifiable, with ads featuring alongside similarly styled, but independent editorial content. Companies using influencers as ambassadors for their products and brands also have greater freedom than in conventional advertising.

Now the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), a consultative body of the European Union, is trying to reduce the lack of transparency often seen in influencer marketing by proposing that the EU should set specific obligations for both, the administrators of the video-sharing platforms and social media networks on which influencers operate, and for content creators and influencers themselves.

The basic principle of the proposal is that advertisers should leave consumers in no doubt that what they are engaging with is advertising. And they should not mislead consumers or cause serious offence.

“EU already has some mechanisms in place to deal with influencers, which are covered by legislation on both advertisers and sellers/traders. However, we think it would be desirable to have a comprehensive approach given the fast rise of this phenomenon.”, says Bernardo Hernández Bataller, a councilor of the European Economic and Social Committee since 1994. “We would need specific regulation to cover the rights and obligations of the people involved, so that all legal operators and consumers know exactly what is and what is not acceptable.”

Some Member States have gone it alone (France, Spain and the Belgian region of Flanders). But, accord to the recent proposal, a “hard core” of EU rules would be more effective. The EESC argues that it would leave no loopholes allowing different Member States to take a softer line.

The list of suggestions to be adopted by influencers in all 27 member states of the European Union includes it being mandatory for content creators to include a prominent label upfront to highlight that a post is a marketing communication. They would then be liable if they fail to make it sufficiently clear when they are being paid to endorse or promote a product or service.

The proposal highlights that platform administrators and social media networks should also be liable for content published by the content creators and influencers they host, as well as have an obligation to take down illegal content and report illegal activity.

Other issues surrounding influencer marketing featured throughout the report includes the frequent use of child influencers. Concerns regarding content creators as a trade and if their position should be covered by employment laws are also mentioned.

“What about the tax issues raised by influencer advertising? How should we tax influencer income and the profits influencers generate? How should we tax the added value they create?, asks Stefano Palmieri, co-rapporteur.

Even if approved, a new set of rules doesn’t necessary mean that brands and content creators will follow them. In France, in a study of 60 influencers and influencer agencies from January 2023, the French General Directorate of Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control (DGCCRF) showed that 60% did not respect the regulations on advertising and consumer rights.

And in the UK, compliance with labelling requirements when it comes to Influencer Marketing remains low. In 2021, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) published an analysis of more than 24,000 Instagram Stories. Of the 5,700 it considered to be marketing material, nearly two-thirds were not clearly identifiable as such.

How is Coronavirus affecting content creators’ income? 0 684

It is official: we are four months into 2020, and a lot has changed since the last time content creators ventured out of their houses for a photoshoot, or to create a branded campaign from scratch.

From Asia to the USA, from Europe to Latin America, current travel restrictions and self-isolation recommendations mean that more people than ever before are working indoors, across all corners of the world, helping fight the spread of Covid-19.

So, how are influencers balancing life in quarantine, creativity restraints, and the loss of income generated by the global pandemic?

Matteo Castellotti – Ski instructor and blogger

Double Impact

“As a content creator and ski instructor, I have been doubly impacted because you need to be outdoors to carry out both activities, and, right now, it is not a possibility here in Italy.

It has been a month since the last time we were allowed out of the house properly, and the number of deaths caused by the coronavirus is worrying.

We try to remain courageous and support each other, but the truth is, we don’t know when all this will end, and life will be back to normal. Hopefully, everything will be resolved as soon as possible.”

Matteo Castellotti – Ski instructor and blogger

Renata Oliveira – Model and Lifestyle Influencer

Leveraging the Engagement Spike

“It affected me directly as I had worked with brands canceled, as well as a work trip carefully planned to take place during Easter that has been canceled.

I am very practical, though, and as I suddenly found myself at home with lots of extra time, I have dedicated my time to creating content that can help my followers through their quarantine.

From tips to recipes, I am doing whatever I can to keep my Instagram active and useful, besides leveraging the increase of traffic and engagement I have noticed since this novel coronavirus started to change people’s online habits.”

Renata Oliveira – Model and Lifestyle Influencer

Giovanni Aguayo – singer

Fitness Routine Dropped

“Although I love my two dogs, staying full time indoors with them is also driving me insane. I miss going to the gym – and for once, my fitness routine has totally dropped.

I’ve been trying to keep a healthy diet but, I’m just at home watching movies all day. I haven’t been back to work in 2 weeks, and I truly miss it, even seeing my co-workers and just people in general. As an influencer and content creator, the virus has had a kind of up and down effect; for example, I haven’t had any new products for product placement, but I have learned a couple of new things for myself. I’ve learned to dance more, keep in touch more with my family and friends (over FaceTime, of course). In fact, lately, I have been putting together a lot of dance videos, and have even learned a couple of choreographies.

The virus itself is horrible, and I wish it can go away soon, so we can continue with our normal lives and normal living and rebuild a financial structure. Tons of businesses have closed down here in Las Vegas, and hotels and casinos are all boarded up to keep people away.”

Giovanni Aguayo – singer

Dr. Bucandy Odetundun – Brand influencer and Medical Doctor

Negotiations On Hold

“I’m a stay at home mum, and I usually use the time when my son is at the nursery to create content for both my YouTube channel and my Instagram. However, right now, my son’s nursery is closed, so it is really difficult as he consumes most of my time.

It is not only affecting my creativity but my income, too. I had a few brands in which I was at an advanced stage of negotiations for an Influencer Marketing campaign before the lockdown. Unfortunately, they had to put everything on hold due to the unprecedented times.”

Dr. Bucandy Odetundun – Brand influencer and Medical Doctor

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