The golden combination of a meaningful influencer partnership

What we learned from an illustrator who dedicates his time sending people ‘hate mail’?

Authenticity and influencers: two buzzwords if ever we’ve heard (slash used) them. Both rely on allowing people and brands to operate in a way that clearly defines who they are, with as little bias as possible. And yet in the media landscape, there’s more and more pressure to deliver collaborations that don’t necessarily prioritise those two boxes.

So how do you meaningfully combine the two without selling out?

Recently we were lucky enough to have an audience with British illustrator, artist and speaker Mr. Bingo as part of an AGDA event and it was enlightening to say the least. Talk about pushing the boat right out.

“My existence is simple, I’m here to entertain and amuse,” he said. But can it be that simple?

Frank, sharp and divisive, Mr. Bingo doesn’t mince words when it comes to what drives him and why his MO has currency in the modern media landscape. He does what he wants, when he wants, how he wants and inevitably comes out on top. He’s best known for his hate mail postcards – irreverent illustrated messages on postcards designed to offend and amuse – but it’s his attitude that makes him so interesting.

Past clients include Nike, BBC, Absolut and Microsoft, but when asked how he works with briefs, he’s proud of the fact that he, quite frankly, ignores them. Instead, he prefers to ideate the concept he feels represents his relationship with the brand or more importantly evokes a deep reaction and connection with the brand and sells it back to his ‘employers’.

“Taking the piss, having a laugh, being silly – that gets attention. That’s fun. That’s nothing but being human,” says Mr. Bingo. Which goes to prove the point that in a modern fragmented world, disruption is key. Mr. Bingo goes on to prove the point that being bold but true to your personal brand is exactly what ensures cut through. But that’s only possible when it’s authentic.

So I guess the point is, when looking at influencer networks and possible collaborations, perhaps it’s time to take our foot off the peddle when it comes to control. The golden combination could be truly finding a partnership that acknowledges what both parties contribute and letting it grow in a way that might not be exactly what you expected – or bargained for – but might have a little bit of that magic you simply cannot manufacture or pay for.