One of my areas of interest, weight lifting, has lead me to a pretty interesting revelation: brands these days, especially in the fitness industry, have to invest in people. They trust fitness vloggers with the reputation of their company, and as such have to decide when a person is no longer what they desire to be affiliated with.
Specifically, I follow a woman named Nikki Blackketter (Nikki), 29, who started her career as a fitness vlogger as a bikini-competitor and has transitioned into a life-style vlogger and encourager of personal growth, both mental and physical.
She was, while dating her now-ex boyfriend Christian Guzman (CG), an ambassador for Ghost Nutrition. Ghost is a fairly new brand, and as such, has to work hard to protect its image and decide what the brand does and does not stand for.
Around this time last year, Nikki and CG, with 552k and 710k subscribers on YouTube, respectively, split up.
While this may not seem relevant to anything PR related, Ghost Nutrition then forcibly removed Nikki from their team, which followers of Nikki viewed as a seemingly petty action, that the brand was “siding” with one party during the breakup and thereby alienated her 552k followers.
So, this brings a few questions to mind:
1. Do brands that work/sponsor a select few in such a competitive industry have a right to take sides in the personal matters of their ambassadors such as a breakup?
2. Do brands in similar industries have a set procedure in how ambassadors do/do not conduct themselves online?
3. Should Ghost have made a statement offering an explanation for their dismissal of Nikki? – to this one, at the very least, I think yes. Given the personal nature of YouTube/the relationship between followers and vloggers, Ghost now has roughly 550 thousand people that feel that Ghost has mistreated someone they care greatly for.