Best Practices

5 Creative Influencer Marketing Case Studies

By Jesse Leimgruber

This article presents and analyzes 5 of the most powerful influencer marketing case studies I have found. If the content is king then creativity is the supreme overlord. In social media, nothing trump’s the power of creative content. Funny, well-crafted content spreads like wildfire through the social graph. It pulls hundreds of thousands of eyes in the blink of an eye.

Influencers are modern day celebrities and their endorsements carry huge weight. Brands have noticed and have begun partnering with these influencers at ever-increasing ratesUnfortunately, most brands haven’t yet figured out how to walk the fine line between creating engaging influencer content and blatant promotions. Brand safety is paramount to any successful advertising campaign, but often being too “brand-safe” can squash the viral momentum of an influencer’s creativity.

Well… that’s not the case with these 5 influencer marketing case studies.


The above 5 brands created some of the most impressive influencer marketing campaigns I’ve seen to date. These campaigns knocked a powerful punch for the brands and delivered monumental results. How did they accomplish such a feat? They didn’t compromise on the creative values of the influencer.

Jimmy Tatro’s FanDuel Commercial Satire


Influencer: Jimmy Tatro (Known for LifeAccordingToJimmy YouTube series and role in 22 Jump Street)

Subscribers: 2,436,808

Brand: FanDuel

After a flurry of TV commercials, radio ads, and traditional outbound media… the public started to turn a blind eye to the daily fantasy sports adverts. Twitter feeds complained that “every other commercial is a FanDuel ad.” Looking for a better way of delivering their message, FanDuel partnered with leading college and sports influencers to craft their message in a captivating, and often hilarious, format.

Why is this influencer marketing case study brilliant?

Jimmy plays the role of a flustered TV director attempting to corral an unrefined NFL rookie for his first TV endorsement. With 17 unique mentions of the brand name, 5 direct calls to action, clearly integrated promotional codes, and over 90 seconds of direct brand-messaging, you would think this was nothing more than a 4-minute infomercial. Normally, this level of brand promotion would immediately turn off viewers, kick on their ad-blinders, and cause a stream of “sell out” comments. Not this time.

Filled with a flurry of relatable cultural references, Jimmy makes a satire of commercials, sports athletes, and endorsements in general. Not only did his audience LOVE the content, but the piece pulled in over 300,000 views and thousands of clicks… His fans hardly considered the skit an ad at all.

Let’s see what his audience had to say…


Meghan McCarthy’s Walmart Promo to Millennial’s


Influencer: Meghan McCarthy

Subscribers: 643,287

Brand: Walmart

Kids these days don’t watch TV like they used to… In fact, a recent survey by Variety found the five most influential figures among Americans ages 13-18 are ALL YouTube creators. The survey highlighted that traditional media celebrities just don’t have the same pull or presence among today’s teens.

Why is this influencer marketing case study brilliant?

As the old adage goes, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. That’s exactly what Walmart decided to do in this influencer marketing case study. Walmart found that Meghan McCarthy was among one of the top Millennial influencers and partnered with her to integrate their promotion into her daily conversations. Posting on Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube, Meghan put her stamp of approval and explained exactly why her audience should care about the promotion. Her posts garnered hundreds of follow up posts and tweets, the partnership with Meghan made an impact like no TV commercial campaign ever would.

Missy Lanning Launching a New Subscription Box


Influencer: Missy Lanning

Subscribers: 305,988

Brand: Try The World

Raising awareness for a new product is never an easy task, especially for a startup. Tight on cash, startups often have to result in guerrilla tactics to help get their product seen. Unfortunately, most startups aren’t able to crack their marketing fast enough and end up running out of cash. That’s why it’s critical that startups take well-planned decisions or else they’ll find themselves with a great product and no sales.

Why is this influencer marketing case study brilliant? 

Rather than pay top dollar for mainstream celebrity influencer marketing endorsement, Try The World worked with Missy Lanning. With 300k subscribers, she’s able to provide better dollar-for-dollar value than a top-tier influencer.  This particular video drove thousands of clicks, an array of sales, and continues to provide a steady stream of sales even months after posting.

FoodBeast’s Ken’s Salad Dressing Recipe Integration


Influencer: FoodBeast

Followers: 1,223,133

Brand: Ken’s Salad Dressing

In the crowded landscape of consumer-packaged-goods, it’s hard to stand out from the noise. Rather than buy standard ads that talk about how tasty their product was, Kens Salad dressing opted to partner with leading food influencers to creative clever, viral recipes that integrated their product in a natural way.


Why is this influencer marketing case study brilliant? 

Going viral with a comedy video? Easy. Going viral with a sports video? Easy. Going viral with a food video… not so much. Even with influencer marketing, the CPG and food space is tough to pull views in. FoodBeast is known for his crazy, off the beaten path recipes. So when Ken’s Salad teamed up with FoodBeast to create a new recipe, the goal was clear: Go viral. FoodBeast created the “Ranch Taco Salad Code”, a one of a kind recipe to create a savory treat using Ken’s Salad Dressing. Pulling in over 6,000 shares on Facebook, this creation sparked a flurry of comments and likes and landed hundreds of thousands of eyeballs on Ken’s Dressing.


New York Times App Promotions


Influencer: Armando Ferreira

Followers: 158,456

Brand: New York Times

Launching any new product is hard. Tech & app reviewers have an engaged audience that closely listens to their review and recommendations. Having these influencers post a review of your app can have immeasurable value for an app launch.

Why is this influencer marketing case study brilliant? For the launch of their latest revision of their app, The New York Times worked with tech YouTubers that were already familiar with the old New York Times app. These app reviewers were able to explain granular details and changes on the new app that may normally go unnoticed. Many of these refined granular changes are what makes the New York Times have such a stellar user interface, but it’s hard for a potential user to understand this from reading the App Store description. After partnering with carefully selected tech & app reviewers, the engaged users on their new app significantly increased.

Takeaways From These Influencer Marketing Case Studies

The key thing to take away from these influencer marketing case studies? Creativity is key. When partnering with influencers, it’s critical that you have a keen understanding of what type of content will resonate well with the influencer’s audience. Influencer marketing doesn’t work if it’s too overly promotional.

Being brand-safe is one thing, being an outright advertisement is another.

Keep in mind:

  • Top brands are partnering with influencers at an ever-increasing rate.
  • Partnering with smaller, targeted influencers can drive as much or more results than top-tier influencers.
  • Giving the influencer more creative freedom can help a piece go viral.
  • Understanding an influencer’s audience and demographic first can help a brand pinpoint their target market.
  • Full integrations with a strong brand presence are fine if they’re funny and creative.

This article was written by Jesse Leimgruber

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