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No more clumpy lipgloss: How TikTok's 'deinfluencing' trend became a marketing tactic – CBC News



Just a few weeks ago, Lauren Rutherglen’s 10,000 TikTok followers would have expected advice on what beauty products to buy.

But as she rummaged through the creamy Glossier eyeshadows, Ilia serums and Charlotte Tilbury liquid bronzers in her drawer, the Calgary-based content creator was reminded of the expensive but disappointing products that the Internet had convinced her she needed. 

So she made a “deinfluencing” video — a TikTok-coined term that describes the rejection of viral, cult-favourite beauty or lifestyle products (typically associated with influencer culture) in favour of more affordable choices. 


“I just wanted to share my opinion on things that I was influenced as a consumer to buy and just didn’t really like,” Rutherglen told CBC News. 

She doesn’t mince words during her TikTok video, which has upped her follower count by a few thousand. “It dries out, it’s hard to blend. I hate it. I hate it so much,” she says of one product. Wrinkling her nose at another, she claims that it “literally smells like rotting Play-Doh.”

But deinfluencing is a content strategy in itself, according to the Canadian creators, industry and marketing experts who spoke with CBC News. As the cost of living goes up, content creators are striving to build trust with audiences who can no longer afford the expensive products that some influencers get paid up to half a million dollars to promote.

A marketing strategy in itself

A young woman leans against a wall.
Lauren Rutherglen, a Calgary-based content creator, made a deinfluencing video that garnered thousands of likes. ‘I just wanted to share my opinion on things that I was influenced as a consumer to buy and just didn’t really like,’ Rutherglen said. (Maya Francis)

The deinfluencing hashtag on TikTok had accumulated over 228 million views as of Feb. 23.

Some TikTokers directed their followers away from trendy, pricey products that they felt were a disappointment or a waste of money, instead recommending cheaper, more functional alternatives (which they might still be paid to promote).

Why get the $50 Stanley tumbler when you can just get a water bottle, they asked? Why do you need $175 Ugg minis if you can buy a regular pair of boots? Why buy Kim Kardashian’s shapewear products if you can get inexpensive pantyhose?

A curated social media feed can serve the same purpose as a fashion magazine or a beauty catalogue, and users tend to follow people they trust will recommend high-quality products, said Jess Hunichen, the co-founder of Toronto talent management agency Shine. 

“Trust is the number one commodity that these influencers have,” Hunichen said. Her firm represents about 250 people working in the influencer industry. “If they lose that with their audience, this whole thing goes away for them and they don’t want that.”

Deinfluencing is a tool that can build that trust, she added. It’s not unlike the in-person retail experience, where shoppers at a cosmetics store or a clothing boutique might seek advice or validation from a salesperson working the floor.

“When you have a sales associate say to you that you look amazing in everything you like, maybe they just want to sell,” she said. But taking a critical approach might have a more powerful — and lucrative — impact.

“When they say to you, ‘you know what, this looks incredible,’ [or] ‘I don’t love that colour on you,’ you immediately trust them,” because they’re willing to give you an honest answer, Hunichen said.

Rutherglen, who says she has acne and textured skin, uses her platform to connect with others who share her need for specialized products — but don’t want to be duped by an advertising or branding scheme.

Pedestrians walk by a large Sephora cosmetics store.
Deinfluencing is a tool that can build that trust, said Jess Hunichen, the co-founder of Toronto talent management agency Shine. (Mary Altaffer/The Associated Press)

“A lot of businesses [want] honest reviews from people that have communities of people who trust what they’re saying,” said Rutherglen. She doesn’t make an income from her social media, nor does expect to receive a sponsorship deal from the companies she criticized in the video — but it’s all water under the bridge.

“I would rather burn these bridges and be honest with everyone then sell something that I’ve either altered to look good or I just really don’t like and don’t use, because then [my followers will] be in the same boat that I was after purchasing all those products,” she added.

‘I don’t think anything’s accidental’

A woman wearing glasses poses for a professional headshot.
‘I think the message isn’t really about consuming less, but just consuming maybe more thoughtfully or intentionally,’ said Lia Haberman, an adjunct professor of influencer marketing at the University of California Los Angeles Extension. (Submitted by Lia Haberman)

Several critics have questioned whether deinfluencing indicates a rejection of the influencer industry, or whether the trend could backfire on content creators whose shunning of consumer culture leave a bad taste in the mouth of their sponsor brands.

The industry was worth about $16.4 billion in 2022, with the industry expected to grow to $21.1 billion in 2023, according to a report from research firm Influencer Marketing Hub. The experts featured in this story ballparked it around the same, with projections to keep growing.

“I don’t think anything’s accidental. I think influencers are very strategic, very intentional,” said Lia Haberman, a Canadian adjunct professor of influencer marketing at the University of California Los Angeles Extension, who wrote about the deinfluencing phenomenon in a recent article.

“It’s more of a curation strategy versus any kind of anti-consumer message,” added Haberman. “So they’ll tell you, ‘Don’t buy this mascara, but I love this one.’ … I think the message isn’t really about consuming less, but just consuming maybe more thoughtfully or intentionally.”

Rutherglen said that the trend is taking off as people who are worried about their employment status and a possible recession are making more thoughtful spending choices. “If you’re wanting to purchase something, you want it to be something that’s of value and reflects what you worked for and the money you earned.”

A photograph of makeup models is displayed in a cosmetics store.
Several critics have questioned whether deinfluencing indicates a rejection of the influencer industry, or whether the trend could backfire on content creators whose shunning of consumer culture leave a bad taste in the mouth of their sponsor brands. (Robert Bumsted/The Associated Press)

Jess Hankin, a Vancouver-based content creator who earns an affiliate commission from Amazon for her TikTok videos, agreed. She pointed to an incident in which the cosmetics company Tarte sent dozens of influencers on a glitzy three-day, all-inclusive trip to Dubai this past January.

“Sending a whole bunch of influencers just to have this little glamorous Instagram kind of life somewhere else, where so many of us are like, ‘dude, my mortgage is through the roof,’ or, ‘I can’t even afford to buy a house,’ is just not something that a lot of people want to see right now.”

Honesty is an influencer’s best currency

A woman with brown hair in a colourful costume sings into a microphone while standing powerfully on a stage lit bright red.
Doja Cat performs at the Coachella Music & Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Club on April 24, 2022, in Indio, Calif. The singer last year complained about having to write a jingle for Mexican fast food joint Taco Bell on her social media feeds. (Amy Harris/Invision/The Associated Press)

The rush to “deinfluence” viral Internet products began around the same time that an American beauty influencer named Mikayla Nogueira posted a TikTok touting the powers of a L’Oreal mascara. “This looks like false eyelashes,” she said during the L’Oreal-sponsored video. 

The criticism was swift: she was wearing actual false lashes, many of her followers said, and deliberately misleading her audience into buying the product.

“When you embrace a brand too fully, it can make it seem like you’re just embracing them or endorsing them because you have a contract and you know you’re sponsored by a brand,” said Haberman. 

A recent marketing move by Taco Bell shows that brands might be warming up to a reverse psychology-style of promotion, she added. The Mexican fast food joint paid singer Doja Cat last year to complain about having to write a jingle for their brand on her social media feeds. It was negative attention — but attention nonetheless

Taco Bell’s move “was deinfluencing before deinfluencing,” Haberman said. “Most companies are not that comfortable with the idea of, ‘we’re going to pay an influencer to complain about us or to say anything negative at all about our product or our brand.'”

“But I think kind of the braver, bolder, more progressive companies on social media are going to jump on this and find a way to turn it to their advantage.”

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Canada’s carbon pricing is going up again. What it means for your wallet



Canadians in some provinces and territories will soon be paying a little bit more at the gas station as a federal carbon price is set to go up starting Saturday.

The fuel charge is rising by 30 per cent from $50 per tonne of emissions to $65 on April 1. This will translate to an increase of roughly three cents per litre for gas, reaching a total of 14 cents per litre.

The scheduled increase will apply in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Yukon and Nunavut.


Meanwhile, the carbon price jump will go into effect in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island on July 1.

Canada began pricing carbon pollution in 2019.

The move is part of Ottawa’s commitment to tackle climate change with a goal to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

While Canadians will see an increase at the pumps, the carbon price increase is not expected to have a huge impact on their gas expenses, said Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood, a senior researcher with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

“It’s an incremental increase, but it’s not actually going to be a huge change year-over-year that people will notice ,” he told Global News.

For individuals, it could mean a $1 jump per tank depending on how big the vehicle is, Mertins-Kirkwood estimated. For businesses too, it’s “not a major expense,” he said.

Mertins-Kirkwood said things like oil market fluctuations and gas taxes have a much bigger impact on energy costs.

“Those swings are way bigger than the carbon price.”


What else is changing?

The carbon price increase comes amid some temporary relief for Canadians with lower gas prices reported in February after record-high costs last year. Gas prices in Canada surpassed $2 per litre for the first time ever last year.

On a monthly basis, Canadian drivers paid one per cent less for gas in February, Statistics Canada said in its latest report released on March 21. Overall, gas prices dropped by 4.7 per cent in February – which was the first yearly decline since Jan 2021, StatCan reported.

The agency said the year-over-year decline is partially attributed to the significant jump in prices seen in February 2022 amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Canadian national average for gas prices stood at 150.8 cents per litre on Friday morning, according to GasBuddy. The CAA’s estimate for Friday was 149 cents per litre.

The carbon tax will not only raise gas prices, but could make its way into Canadian pocketbooks in other ways too.

For instance, aviation gasoline in the four provinces is also going up by roughly 3.5 cents a litre to a total of almost 16 cents per litre, which could potentially mean higher airfares down the line.

However, the rates for aviation gasoline and aviation turbo fuel will remain unchanged in the territories due to the “high reliance” on air transportation, the federal government says.

Light fuel oil, which is used in household equipment, is increasing to 17 cents per litre – an increment of nearly four cents.

Carbon pricing can have also ripple effects on food prices, other grocery items and shipped goods experts say, as Canada’s truck-based transportation industry will be spending more money to fill up the tank.

“It’s possible it could have an impact on things like shipping, but it’s a relatively minor impact,” said Mertins-Kirkwood.


Will rebates make a difference?

Ottawa has claimed that eight out of 10 Canadian families will get more money back than they pay under the federal carbon pricing plan because of the Climate Action Incentive.

Canadians can claim CAI payments by filing annual federal taxes.

Mertins-Kirkwood said most households, except those earning a high income, are “better off” from the carbon pricing due to the government rebate which recycles revenue back to families.

However, the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO), an independent watchdog, said in a report last year that a bulk of Canadian households over the long term will see a “net loss” from the federal carbon pricing by 2030-31.

The PBO said that Albertans in the top income quintile would pay the largest net cost from the carbon tax, while the lowest-income quintile households in Saskatchewan stand to see the largest net gain via the rebate.

— With files from Global News’ Craig Lord


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What economists are saying about the latest GDP numbers



Canada’s economy continues to defy expectations for a pullback.

Statistics Canada released data on March 31 that showed the economy grew 0.5 per cent month over month in January, a remarkable reversal from December when GDP contracted 0.1 per cent. January’s reading also beat Bay Street analysts estimate for growth of 0.4 per cent.

At the same time, Statistics Canada said preliminary data suggest the economy grew 0.3 per cent in February, indicating additional momentum. Economic activity rebounded in the vast majority of the broad industries that the agency monitors, including manufacturing, construction, and accommodation and food services.

Economists said the monthly numbers suggest quarterly GDP — measured somewhat differently — probably grew at an annual rate of around 2.5 per cent, well above the Bank of Canada’s forecast of 0.5 per cent.


While the report showed an economy healthier than many expected, economists now think the GDP surprise could make the Bank of Canada‘s job tougher as it seeks to cool inflation by raising interest rates to tamp down demand.

Here’s what some of them are saying about the GDP numbers and what it means for the Bank of Canada and interest rates.

Charles St-Arnaud, Alberta Central

“Today’s release of the monthly GDP suggests that the Canadian economy started the year strong. As such, the strength in January and February is pointing to growth in the first quarter of 2023 at around three per cent quarter over quarter annual rate, far from a contraction. This follows a period of weakness in the last quarter of 2022, as higher interest rates took a toll on rate-sensitive sectors.

“The resilience of the Canadian economy is likely to complicate the Bank of Canada’s job of bringing inflation back to its target. The Bank of Canada signalled at its latest meeting that it would keep its policy rate unchanged for some time to better assess the impact of previous rate hikes on the economy and inflation. However, with growth likely close to three per cent, excess demand in the economy is growing, adding to inflationary pressures and raising the likelihood that further rate hikes will be necessary. Similarly, the tight labour market is supporting strong wage growth. However, the banking woes in the U.S. and Europe suggest caution is warranted.

“The Bank of Canada is likely at a crucial juncture and facing a significant dilemma. The central bank may have to choose between fighting inflation and hiking interest rates again or focusing on financial stability and keeping rates on hold.”

Stephen Brown, Capital Economics

“The strength of GDP growth in January, and probably February too, suggests the Bank of Canada will use its April meeting to reiterate that, despite the recent banking turmoil, it is still prepared to raise interest rates again if needed.

“The big surprise is that, despite the early estimates showing falls in manufacturing, wholesale and retail sales in February, the preliminary estimate points to another 0.3 per cent month-over-month gain in GDP last month. That gain implies the economy is heading for growth of about 2.5 per cent annualized this quarter, slightly higher than the two per cent gain we have pencilled in.

“A 2.5 per cent expansion would also be stronger than the bank’s forecast of a 0.5 per cent rise, but recall that the stagnation in GDP last quarter was weaker than the bank’s estimate of a 1.3 per cent gain. Moreover, we know that the rebound in activity is helping to lower prices rather than contributing to inflationary pressures. For example, the CPI passenger vehicle price index fell by 2.5 per cent over the first two months of the year. So while the bank will stick to its hawkish messaging, we doubt recent developments will cause it resume rate hikes.”

Douglas Porter, BMO Economics

“There were many indications that the economy got off to a solid start in 2023, but today’s double-barrelled blast of strength is well above even the most optimistic views. Even if growth stalls in March, it now looks like Q1 will post growth of 2.5 per cent, up from a flat read in Q4. While we continue to look for a notable cool-down in the next two quarters, we are bumping up our GDP growth estimate for all of 2023 by three ticks to one per cent. Suffice it to say that if the strength seen in the opening months of the year persists, the Bank of Canada is going to find itself in a tough spot.”

Randall Barlett, Desjardins Economics

“Today’s outsized move in January real GDP and continued momentum through February leaves little room to equivocate. The Canadian economy started the year on a very strong footing. We are now tracking real GDP growth approaching three per cent annualized in Q1, well above the bank’s 0.5 per cent tracking in the January 2023 monetary policy report.

“As such, expect substantial upward revisions to the central bank’s near‑term forecast when it’s published in a week and a half. But with the recent global banking sector volatility and inflation coming in below expectations in February, there are plenty of good reasons for the bank to stay on the sidelines for the foreseeable future. However, the data suggest the central bank should reiterate its hawkish‑leaning forward guidance.”

Tony Stillo, Oxford Economics

“After stalling in Q4 2022, it now looks like GDP will grow modestly in Q1. Still, we believe a contraction in the economy will be unavoidable this spring and summer as the full impact from higher interest rates materializes, lenders tighten credit due to ongoing financial turmoil, and the U.S. slips into recession.”

Matthieu Arseneau and Alexandra Ducharme, National Bank of Canada Economics

“Despite the continued rebound of the Canadian economy in Q1 after a sluggish quarter, we still believe that the Bank of Canada should maintain its pause in monetary tightening. The rate hikes have been very aggressive and will continue to weigh on the economy given the lag in their pass-through.

“In addition, the outcome of the ongoing turmoil in the global banking sector and its impact on credit conditions in the coming months remains uncertain. We expect to see ups and downs in output in later quarters that will leave GDP essentially flat over the next year. This is an argument for patience. All the more so given the encouraging developments in inflation that are now emerging.”

Jay Zhao-Murray, currency market analyst, Monex Canada

“While the Bank of Canada is currently on a conditional pause as it awaits more data, the strength in the real economy, as measured by upward revisions from last month’s preliminary figure (for GDP) and another probable above-potential reading in February, could tilt the central bank in a more hawkish direction.

“While it is still too early to call for another rate hike, the odds are shifting in that direction: BoC officials stated they are mostly worried about upside risks to inflation and have shown little panic about recent global banking troubles. Stronger growth means the costs to another hike are falling, and it also puts upward pressure on inflation. Markets largely agree with our assessment, as they are now pricing only 35 basis points of rate cuts by year end, the fewest in nearly three weeks, and a far cry from the 90 basis points of cuts priced just a week ago.”

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Reactions to Rogers-Shaw deal mixed in Alberta



Reaction to the $26 billion Rogers-Shaw merger in Alberta was mixed on the day it was announced.

Bob Schulz, a professor at the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business, called the merger a “win-win.”

“It’s a blockbuster deal for Canada, but it could be the rising (rural telecommunications) star for the world in the developing countries that we actually test here,” Schulz said Friday.


He noted Canada’s spread out pockets of population presents a unique operating environment for telecommunications companies, and faces competition from emerging companies like Elon Musk’s Starlink.

Shaw executive chair and CEO Brad Shaw said the deal was an “exciting new chapter” for connectivity in the country.

“In today’s telecommunications industry, we recognize that companies need even greater scale to compete and make ongoing investments for future technology,” Shaw said in a statement. “This merger will provide the scale necessary for the future success and competitiveness of the wireline business that Shaw has built over the past five decades.”

Schulz was quick to point out that while the merger would reduce two telcos into one, the stipulation that Shaw’s Freedom Mobile be sold to Quebecor-owned Videotron will help with competition in the mobile phone market.

“Consumers may think it’s a bad idea by having the two go together, but if Videotron comes in because they have lower prices, it may force the Rogers-Shaw combination to move down.”

The U of C professor said the conditions of the merger is likely to put added pressure on existing telcos.

“If Videotron decides that they’re going to expand, then Bell would have to do something a little different in order to compete or decide they’re going to compete less of the west and more of the east,” Schulz said. “And it’s also going to be interesting to see what happens with Telus, because now Telus will have a stronger competitor to compete with in the west.”

Alberta promises to hold merger to terms

Minister of Technology and Innovation Nate Glubish said the Alberta government will be “unwavering” in holding the merged companies “accountable to conditions of this deal and the commitments they have made to Alberta jobs, consumers and communities.”

More on Canada

“We will closely monitor the requirement for Rogers to create about 3,000 jobs in Western Canada and invest a further $1 billion to connect rural, remote and Indigenous communities to high-speed internet,” Glubish said, noting the investment aligns with the province’s broadband strategy.

He welcomed the entry of the low-cost mobile offering from Videotron, which is to include rates 20 per cent lower than current offerings and invest $150 million into their network.

“While the telecommunications industry is under the exclusive jurisdiction of the federal government, we will hold Rogers and Shaw to their commitments outlined in this deal and protect Albertans’ interests going forward.”

The Opposition’s municipal affairs critic called the merger a “loss of an iconic Alberta company.”

“(Shaw has) deep roots in the province that go back almost 60 years, employing hundreds of people in their headquarters in Calgary and thousands across Western Canada,” Calgary-Buffalo MLA Joe Ceci said in a statement.

Ceci said a deal of this size will change the telco landscape in the country and could jeopardize jobs, increase customer costs and reduce access to services.

One of the 21 stipulations made by the federal government was for Rogers to establish a western headquarters in Calgary.

“I am encouraged to see these conditions included in the deal and we will be watching closely to ensure they are implemented,” Ceci said in a statement. “However, it is concerning that the Danielle Smith government failed to advocate for Alberta. They sought intervenor status in the deal, but did not take a position.”

Albertans balk at ‘less choice’

Calgary student Ashmal Dawoodani endorses the government encouraging competition and called the Rogers-Shaw deal “only beneficial to the larger corporations.”

“Just selling off the mobile assets to another company is sort of like a short term solution. It’s not really looking too long-term,” Dawoodani said. “I think we do have some of the highest phone bills across the world and I don’t think that’ll change from such a small move like that.”

Nicole Flemming said the merger could limit options for customers like her.

“I like to have more choice with my cell phone providers and Internet providers so I don’t really like that idea (of the merger),” Fleming told Global News “It gives me less choice as a consumer – I like to shop around.”

Shaw Communications and Corus Entertainment, the parent company of Global News, are owned by the Shaw family based in Calgary.


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