'Bachelor' Runner-Up May Get Consolation Prize -- Ad Deals

Former Contestants Have Gone On To Promote Teeth Whiteners, Cheese

By Published on .

Credit: Courtesy Instagram/Andi Dorfman

Ben Higgins will (likely) propose to one of the two remaining women on tonight's "The Bachelor" finale, leaving the runner-up crying in a limo on her way back to her old life.

While she may not walk away with a Neil Lane diamond on her finger and soul mate on her arm, the woman Mr. Higgins doesn't chose will likely at least get something out of her stint on ABC's reality dating show: ad deals.

Former "Bachelor" and "Bachelorette" contestants have parlayed their time on the series into pacts to promote teeth whiteners, subscription boxes, flowers and even cheese on their social media pages.

"We are not actors or actresses. We still need to make a living," said Desiree Siegfried, from "The Bachelorette" season 9.

Celebrity endorsements are nothing new; neither are brands tapping stars to post about their products on social media. But reality TV series like "The Bachelor" that reliably churn out a new group of social media influencers with a built-in following have broadened the range of potential endorsers for brands.

And they've created opportunities for smaller brands that may not have the marketing budget for large-scale TV or print campaigns to reach a very specific and desirable audience.

Former "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette" contestants have gone on to promote Campbell's Soup, Kind Snacks and Nordstrom on their social-media feeds.

But for the most part, the brands they are partnering with are not household names.

It seems nearly every former female contestant of the franchise has become a spokesperson for beauty/fitness/fashion/wellness subscription box company FabFitFun.

"We realized there was this untapped group of influencers with highly engaged, devoted followings," said Jolie Jankowitz, influencer marketing, FabFitFun. "Brands were starting to collaborate with bloggers and YouTubers, but not yet with these reality stars."

Ms. Jankowitz calls these former contestants brand ambassadors. "We're not in it for one-off sponsored posts on Instagram -- they're our ambassadors," she said. "It's truly a long-term, cross-promotional partnership."

FabFitFun even featured a piece from the jewelry line of Michelle Money, who has appeared on "The Bachelor" season 15, "Bachelor Pad" season 2 and "Bachelor in Paradise" season 1.

As part of the deal, Ms. Money shares the content of FabFitFun subscription boxes with her fans on her YouTube channel, hosts takeovers of FabFitFun's Instagram account and also contributes original content like beauty secrets and fashion tips to FabFitFun's online magazine.

For FabFitFun, whose own Instagram account has just over 200,000 followers, it presents the opportunity to drive impressions for the products being represented in its boxes. Ms. Siegfried has about 495,000 Instagram followers, while Andi Dorfman, "The Bachelorette" season 10, who also promotes the boxes, has over 950,000.

"It's important to us that we align with influencers who are aspirational but still relatable," Ms. Jankowitz said.

It's the casualness of the posts that make partnering with these social influencers appealing for brands…the idea that the item being featured is simply part of the daily life of the person.

Last month, Kaitlyn Bristowe, star of "The Bachelorette" season 11, posted a picture of herself in her kitchen making breakfast. Amid the pancakes, milk and blueberries is a big tub of IdealFit protein powder, which she says she uses instead of flour to make her pancakes.

For these minor celebrities, the ad deals can be lucrative. While Ms. Siegfried declined to comment on the specific rates she charges for paid posts, she said, "anything that compensates more than a weeks' worth pay at a full time job is going to be worth it."

"I'm sure some with larger followings make more with one post than someone's monthly income," she added.

Still, despite the earnings potential, there is some apprehension about accepting payment for posts as these former contestants try to build their own brands.

Ms. Dorfman said 75% of the offers she receives go "straight to the junk box."

And as Ms. Siegfried looks to grow her own wedding business, she tries to ensure all of the deals she accepts fit with her lifestyle. She has promoted products like Boursin Cheese, and Flipbelt, a fitness product. "I want my page to always be authentic and organic," she said. "I don't take very many offers. I only do the stuff that I would use and my followers would actually want."

And she has several rules she has adopted. "I won't do posts back-to-back…I learned quickly not to trade posts for product."

"It can be lucrative, but it's not glamorous," Ms. Siegfried continued.

While it may seem some of these social media influencers have people following them around with a camera all day, at least for Ms. Siegfried that's not the case. "I spend all day figuring out how to shoot the product," she said.

"I have become more selective and view my social media pages as more about building my brand," Ms. Siegfried added. "I have learned when to say no."

Ms. Dorfman has adopted many of the same standards.

"I check out who else they have worked with; if they have worked with someone who is totally opposite of me," Ms. Dorfman said she is hesitant to partner with the company. "I need to believe in the product or at least want to try it out," she said. "I wouldn't promote something I would never try."

Then comes the question of how these ads appear in social media feeds. Whether or not these posts are accompanied by #ad or #sp (which stands for sponsored post) is decided by the brand not the celebrity, according to both ladies.

It's a new model that both women are trying to figure out – how to balance paid that may come at the risk of alienating followers.

At least for now, it's a likely consolation prize for whoever doesn't win Ben Higgins' heart.

Most Popular