TikTok user and influencer Renee Rodriguez (@reneerodriguez) penned a now-viral clip about how she was asked to essentially work for free. Her gripes echo similar complaints that other social media users have expressed in dealing with certain brands. These companies are known to reach out to content creators in the hopes that they’ll dedicate their time and resources to crafting social media posts promoting their products without any compensation, even in the form of gifts and products if not cash.
@reneedrodriguez Okay sorry for the venting but this was wild to me. Feel free to sound off in the comments. #creators #influencertips ♬ original sound – RENEE
“OK, I’ve never gotten messy on this app before but I’m about to get messy because I just got an email from a brand that really upset me,” Rodriguez starts in the clip. “I’m not gonna say the brand name because a girl doesn’t want to get sued but I will tell you they make tights that are considered very durable and very strong. This brand also recently $101,000,000 in funding earlier this year.”
Rodriguez then went into the particulars of the company’s request and from the get-go, things seemed like a normal conversation opener you’d find at the beginning of any business collaboration.
She continues, “They reached out to me and they were offering me 2 pairs of tights valued at $50 each so $100 total in exchange for one TikTok video. I emailed them back very politely and I said I don’t work on a gifted basis and the reason for that is if I am gifted any items valued at $100 or more I have to pay taxes on those items. So, essentially, I am paying to work for free.”
The influencer says she also let them know that she’d be happy to accept products or be added to a PR list and share the items with my audience organically if she likes them. However, the brand allegedly responded and said they are only working on a gifted basis at this time and they sent along a 12-page creative brief just in case Rodriguez changed her mind.
Rodriguez says that after seeing the creative brief, her perception of the company in the way they intended on working with creative partners changed for the worse.
“This creative brief outlined a few things that really really bothered me,” she explains. In addition to asking for several pieces of social media content in exchange for two pairs of tights, the brand allegedly was asking Rodriguez for one year’s paid usage rights and perpetual rights to the content.
“In the creative brief, they also had instructions on authorizing whitelisting for Instagram and TikTok which means that they are prepared to pay platforms like Instagram and TikTok to run my content as a paid ad but they won’t pay me the person who actually created the content,” she continues.
Basically, they want influencers to give create commercials for free and they have no issue doling out money to social media channels, but don’t want to pay the creatives providing the content. This could be perceived as the brand not valuing the work of creatives as much as a social media platform’s marketing team promoting said content.
The TikToker went on to say, “The fact that this brand raised $101 million dollars this year, $60 million dollars last year, and they are compensating creators with two pairs of tights blows my mind. If you hire a model, if you hire a photographer, if you hire a videographer, as a brand are you going to offer to pay them in tights? No, you’re not.”
The creator clarifies that she has a full-time job separate from her influencing and doesn’t rely on content creating to pay the bills, but other “people do.”
“And you are disrespecting them by offering them 2 pairs of tights for content that you’re planning to pay TikTok and Instagram to run as ads,” she concludes. “It’s messed up.”
While Rodriguez doesn’t name the company in the video, she did mention that it managed to raise $101 million in 2022, and a quick Google search reveals that the pantyhose brand Sheertex did just that. She also liked a user’s comment where they mentioned Sheertex, seemingly confirming viewers’ suspicions.
TikTokers who viewed Rodriguez’s post expressed their shock at the brand’s audacity while many other folks asked her to mention which company it was that made the offer.
“As someone who works in pr…TWELVE PAGE BRIEF?! For one piece of unpaid content,” a user shared.
“Tights that costs then $2 to make,” a second wrote.
“Sounds like they need to hire someone who understands influencer marketing,” another said.
Others quipped that the brand certainly got a TikTok video made, albeit probably not with the intended message/perception they were attempting to get across.
“Well, they said they wanted a TikTok video,” one viewer responded.
“The AUDACITY,” a user simply said.
“You should send this to them and say here’s your tiktok video,” another stated.
Smaller content creators praised Rodriguez for bringing awareness to a growing problem within the influencing industry.
“This is so helpful for people who are just getting started as content creators so thank you for sharing this knowledge,” a user shared.
“That’s insane!! But I also needed to hear this because as a super small creator I see the value in showcasing my ability to create branded content but Like you I have a full time job and it’s truly just not worth my time.”
To that, the creator replied, “If it were a small business without funding I would consider it but working for free for a company that has raised 160million in 2 years? No way.”
The Daily Dot has reached out to Rodriguez for further comment via email and to Sheertex via email.
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*First Published: Oct 21, 2022, 3:27 pm CDT
Jack Alban is a freelance journalist for the Daily Dot covering trending human interest/social media stories and the reactions real people have to them. He always seeks to incorporate evidence-based studies, current events, and facts pertinent to these stories to create your not-so-average viral post.