Brand deals can be a huge opportunity for YouTubers to earn extra cash, increase their exposure, and market themselves as brand ambassadors. However, for unawary creators they can also be dangerous. That’s a lesson that Singaporean YouTuber Maimunah Bagharib, best known on YouTube simply as Munah, learned the hard way recently after participating in a viral ad for cosmetics maker Nivea. The video triggered an onslaught of criticism for its body shaming humor much of which has landed on Bagharib.
The ad, a 3 minute video depicting a woman who has shunned by society because of “darkly colored arm pits” received swift negative response from fans and critics who called out Nivea for contributing to a culture of body shaming in order to sell its products. . Though she was reportedly hired only as an actress for the video and exercised no creative control over its content but that hasn’t stopped fans form holding Bagharib accountable for the video.
Munah along with partner Hirzi is best known for producing comedic song parodies
Nivea has since removed the video from facebook and YouTube and issued an apology to customers but that hasn’t stopped Bagharib from receiving negative tweets and YouTube comments concerning her participation. For her part she appears to be taking it in stride telling reporters ““I learned a lot from the situation. There will always be a group of people who take things differently, and you have to be so careful and aware of how people might respond based on how you feel personally.”
Munah doesn’t feel that her personal brand has been significantly damaged by the video, but it could easily have gone the other way. Being a YouTuber and a working actor does have its drawbacks. While developing a YouTube fan base can help aspiring performers to get noticed and provide a slew of new opportunities, it also means taking on the responsibility of being a social influencer. YouTube creators don’t have to merely be on the look out for the next big opportunity, they have to be careful to protect their brand an reputation and to promote products ethically to their followers.