When Influencers Fail to Influence
Last year, we posted that Snapchat’s public relations firm had filed a lawsuit against an influencer who allegedly failed to comply with the terms of his agreement.
According to the agreement, Luka Sabbat was required to make four unique posts, get those posts approved beforehand, send analytics to the firm, and be photographed wearing the Spectacles in public at Paris and Milan Fashion Weeks. In exchange for all of this, PR Consulting agreed to pay $45,000 up front, plus another $15,000 later. According to the complaint, Sabbat did not comply with all of the requirements and refused to return the $45,000.
The case settled this week, with Sabbat agreeing to pay $15,000. Sabbat’s troubles aren’t over, though, because he is facing a separate lawsuit from another company that similarly claims he failed to live up to an agreement.
Streetwear brand Konus entered into a deal with Sabbat in 2017, under which it paid him $30,090 to participate in a photo shoot for its Fall/Winter Look Book, and to post two images on Instagram. Although Sabbat participated in the photoshoot, Konus alleges that he did not post the images on Instagram. The company is seeking $40,000 in damages.
Payment terms are often negotiated in influencer agreements. Influencers obviously want more up-front, while companies prefer the opposite. While the parties usually end up somewhere in the middle, these cases illustrate the risks companies face by paying too much before key milestones have been reached. If the influencer breaches the agreement, it can become difficult to get the money back.