A new kind of fake influencer marketing; Die Hard is for Christmas; and other news of note

This story seemed to catch the attention of a lot of industry folks Tuesday. The Atlantic’s Taylor Lorenz looked at how wannabe influencers will post fake sponsored posts in order to raise their credibility with brands and followers.

“A decade ago, shilling products to your fans may have been seen as selling out. Now it’s a sign of success,” wrote Lorenz, who talked to a number of young influencers, including a couple of 15-year-olds, who readily admitted to gaming the system. Others bemoaned plummeting rates created by the saturation of the space.

If you work in influencer marketing, you may be annoyed that there has been no real attempt to examine the tactic’s effectiveness, or even efforts to clean up flaws in the system. And if you’re skeptical about influencer marketing, this will give you a lot of “See, I told you so” evidence.

“People pretend to have brand deals to seem cool,” one young influencer told Lorenz. “It’s a thing, like, I got this for free while all you losers are paying.”

What was that you said about the importance of authenticity in modern marketing?

Oath be gone

A little more than 18 months after Verizon created Oath by combining Yahoo and AOL, the Oath brand is being disappeared, replaced with Verizon Media Group. The announcement caused some unnecessary confusion because it included a Yahoo-like purple Y logo. Eventually Verizon removed that image and explained a new logo will be released with the Jan. 8 go-live date of Verizon Media Group.

5G arrives

AT&T will begin offering 5G service on Friday in 12 cities across the U.S.. It’s only available via mobile hotspots, but this allows AT&T to claim first mover status. The dramatically faster speeds of 5G technology promise a whole new age of mobile opportunity and better connected device experiences. It’s likely to be a years-long roll-out process before 5G reaches critical mass for marketers, but it is a start. (MobileSyrup has a good Canadian explainer on 5G here.)

Fortnite sued over stealing dance moves

Carlton from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (aka Alfonso Ribeiro) is suing the makers of Fortnite and NBA2K, for stealing his moves. Game players can pay to give their characters the dance moves (known as emotes), including the nearly perfectly recreated dance steps the Carlton character made famous in the 90s. The Floss kid, aka Backpack Kid, aka Russell Horning, is also suing the game makers, seeking compensation for the dance craze that took over schoolyards, the stands of sporting events and weddings this year. These complaints about Fornite have been building for a while, but this about Carlton and Flossing, so here we are.

GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer merging units

GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer are merging their consumer health units. GSK brands include Aquafresh, Nicorette, Polident, Sensodyne and Tums. Pfizer brands include Advil, Centrum, Chapstick and Robitussin. The New York Times reports the two divisions had combined sales of $12.7 billion and will hold 7.3% market share.

Williams Sonoma suing Amazon

Williams Sonoma is taking Amazon to court, accusing the e-commerce giant of stealing some of its furniture designs. Amazon has been rapidly expanding its private label offerings, leading businesses to express concern about the prospect of selling their products on Amazon while the online retail giant is also selling its own—often very similar products—at a cheaper price. “The thing is, Amazon just doesn’t care,” one e-commerce consultant told Bloomberg.

Yippee ki yay: Die Hard is officially a Christmas movie

The debate has raged in the 30 years since its debut: Is Bruce Willis’ 1988 movie Die Hard a Christmas movie or an action movie? While the setting says Christmas, the killings, explosions, and that nasty Hans Gruber scream action movie. We’ve got what might be the final word from 20th Century Fox, which has released a Blu-ray trailer for the anniversary edition that proclaims Die Hard “The greatest Christmas story.” In the manner of mock trailers that have seen everything from The Shining to Mrs. Doubtfire radically transformed, the new trailer depicts Willis’ John McClane as a guy just trying to spend Christmas with the family, only to find himself stuck at the office party. Welcome to the party, Die Hard.

David Brown