The Birth and Growth of Influencer Marketing: A Brief History Lesson

Once upon a time… Long long ago… No, no, I’m not starting the article on this note. 

I’m just trying to influence you to continue reading the article. See, the word influence has been revolving around us but is often overlooked. 

To give a better understanding: your childhood friend might have got their first video game console. They would keep ranting about the number of games in it and how cool it is to control players, on and on. 

You are yet to see and use the video game console yourself, yet there’s an urge inside you to ask your parents to buy you one. 

Here your friend was the influencer who promoted the brand’s video game console to make you take action. 

Now that you’re aware of the first influencer marketing encounter let’s dive into the history of influencer marketing. 

Beginning of Influencer Marketing

In the early days of marketing, brands had to rely on word-of-mouth advertising. But as time went on and marketing tactics evolved, it became clear that influencer marketing was a good way to spread the word about your product or brand.

This is a waking call to anyone who might think influencer marketing began its journey through social media. The first influencer marketing emerged in the 18th century. 

Wedgwood, a potter who crafted a tea set for Queen Charlotte, is known as the “father of modern marketing” and was the first-ever influencer to publicize himself and sell products. 

Wedgwood convinced the Queen to introduce her pottery as “Queen ware by Wedgwood.” 

This article will be a tribute to the Pioneers who led us the way to different professions, forms of income, and whole new businesses. The growth of influencer marketing has been insane over the years, eventually leading to the formation of Qoruz

Thanks you, guys! On behalf of the entire influencer community, we feel grateful you guys started, and now we make money out of it. 

Next on to, fictional and non-fictional influencers from history. Let’s stick with the early influencers for now, given the fact that the present influencers always get their fair share of attention. 

Examples of the Fictional Characters in Influencer Marketing

People associate with fictional characters when used in influencer marketing. Let’s say what if your favorite cartoon character appears in a product advert. The fan in you might push you to buy the product or use the service. 

This particular section is all about how the early marketing folks came up with an amazing strategy to use fictional characters. 

Also, thank me later for introducing you to fictional characters you might have never heard of before. 

Santa Claus X Coca-Cola

In 1932, Coca-Cola used a fantastic strategy that brought success to the company and joy to the public. During the great depression, they presented Santa Claus to increase their sales. 

The strategy worked. And Santa Claus became an attractive symbol that sold products. 

Source: Coca-cola

Homepride X Fred

Owned by Premier foods, Homepride is a British food brand that sells flour. 

Geers Gross created a fictional character named “Fred the Flour Grader” in 1964. They go with the tagline “Because graded grains make finer flour.”

In March 2014, Homepride brought Fred back to one of its television advertisements to honor the iconic advertising star on its 50th anniversary. 

Here’s a picture of “Fred the Flour Grader:”

Source: Homepride

Polaroid X Muppets

Jim Henderson created the muppets show that featured Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo, and many more. The show was a heart stealer in 1976.

Polaroid, one of the leading makers of cameras and film, introduced its own instant camera. In 1981 Polaroid used the Muppets in their magazine print ads and its commercials

You can find them saying “Polaroid means fun” in a number of commercials. 

Source: Muppet Fandom

Examples of Celebrities in Influencer Marketing

Soon after the rise of fictional characters, marketers thought, why not the non-fictional / celebrity ones? After all, non-fictional have their own fan base, don’t they?

To everyone’s surprise, having a celebrity market a product or service did well for the brand. Marketers found it easier to influence the audience with celebrities because of their fan following. 

The following topics are a few celebrity endorsements made during the early stages of influencer marketing. 

Murad Cigarettes X Roscoe Arbuckle

Roscoe Arbuckle is a silent film actor, screenwriter, comedian, and comedian. Regardless of the accusations the comedian-actor has gone through, his popularity in the cinema industry overshadowed his wrong-doings.

This is to mention regardless of the allegations, and a lot of people have a question about the actor’s behavior (off-screen), Murad cigarettes used him as the first celebrity product endorsement. 

Source: Media Amazon

Here’s a video of Roscoe Arbuckle:

Marilyn Monroe X Coco Chanel

It’s no secret that the black dress was considered a mourning symbol, and only widows would wear it. Chanel took a step ahead and designed a little black dress.

Marilyn Monroe wearing Chanel’s simple black dress was considered revolutionary. 

If we take a minute and think, the thirst to wear the same dress as the public figure started way back, and it has been remodeled as the years passed.  

Source: Emirates Woman 

Coco Chanel didn’t just break the stereotype of not wearing black dresses. Their statements like “Don’t smile like a rose, but women,” and “A girl should be two things, classy and fabulous”, influenced a lot of women in the early 1950s.

Brands don’t just influence their target audience in buying their products but also change their perspective on life. Which is a good thing, isn’t it?

Nike X Michael Jordan

Nike’s basketball shoe, the Air Jordan 6 ’84, is a revolutionary sneaker that launched Michael Jordan into stardom. Michael Jordan was a rookie in the 1984’s. 

Inspired by the 1984 Olympic games, but made in 1985, Nike took a risk and created these white leather and black mesh sneakers with red lining to show that a thug can be fashionable.

Source: Sneaker Freaker

Jordan said, “Little kids would pick it up” (the shoes Nike made for him.) It was a sure deal that Nike hit $100 million worth in the very next year, 1986. 

The “Air Jordan” has been one of the most popular and revolutionary sneakers in history. They are instantly recognizable due to their retro design and bold color blocking.

Influencer Marketing Today

Hang On! Not going to bore you with what you might already know about influencer marketing today. We are still sticking with the history part, remember?

Here’s a brief (with a few stats) of how effective influencer marketing has grown today and a little dosage of influencer marketing to you (incase you have second thoughts about starting this freakishly amazing industry.)

After being the influencers of other brands, celebrities soon started becoming the face of various brands, and later they even established their own brand. From Kardashians to Katrina Kaif, celebrities started their brands and endorsed themselves.

Instagram excited these celebrity endorsements in 2010. Instagram became a platform where people around the world easily connect with others. And that’s what influencers needed. 

Instagram was an opportunity for anyone with the talent and skills to become an influencer. Ordinary people became worldwide sensations and started generating a steady income through Instagram. 

And not just influencers but even brands benefited from it. Brands started looking for famous influencers that can successfully market their products, which has now evolved into social media marketing. The influencer market has grown beyond Instagram with the rising popularity of TikTok and even Twitter. 

These social media platforms use the cloud to manage the infrastructure where influencers interact; the infrastructure alone can cost a hefty amount, so optimizing cloud costs is a vital part of their operation.

Some stats to blow your mind:

93% of marketers consider influencer marketing to be an effective marketing strategy. 

The estimated value of influencer marketing in India by the end of 2025 is expected to be 22 billion.  While the current value is 9 billion Indian rupees. 

As per the Influencer Marketing Hub, “the majority of brands (59%) have a standalone budget for content marketing, and 75% of them intend to dedicate a budget to influencer marketing in 2021.”


A person with the ability to influence potential buyers of a product or service by promoting or recommending the items on any digital platform is an influencer.  

It became mostly word of mouth marketing, eventually stepping into print ads, magazines, and television advertisements. Now influencer marketing has taken a whole new avatar on all social media platforms. 

The best part is you can find the most effective social media platform to begin your influencer marketing based on your business type and target audience. 

So if you want to get your message across effectively and get more people interested in your brand or product, you can use influencers who already have your target audience in their following. 

Qoruz is an influencer ecosystem that envisions connecting brands and influencers. Qoruz platform is everything you need, from finding the right influencers to preparing campaigns to extract a report. Use our website for free today, and contact us for a demo

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