Check Your Sponsor: The Gabbie Hanna Debacle

Sponsors are an excellent way for YouTubers to make extra income and not rely solely on views for revenue. That being said, it’s all too easy for a YouTuber to take the money and run without looking into what they are actually marketing to their viewers. Gabbie Hanna creates a variety of content including beauty routines, gym results, and fashion. Her videos and vlogs have attracted a significantly sized audience of younger girls that look up to her. After Gabbie Hanna accepted a sponsor from Kenza cosmetics and giving their make-up brushes glowing reviews, it’s no wonder fans flocked to the site for goodies approved by their trusted content creator.

How it All Started

Brushes advertised by Kenza

The trouble first began once subscribers were not receiving the supposedly fantastic brushes that they paid $9.99 for in shipping costs. The company claimed shipping would take two to three weeks and after this time had passed, fans started to see Kenza for what it was. Too good to be true. The company released a statement claiming the brushes would actually take two to three MONTHS, not weeks, to arrive due to how many orders they had to fill.

The Response

Fans felt like they had been lied to, rightfully so, and went after Gabbie asking if this company was legitimate. Others accused her of supporting a scam. In response, Gabbie posted a video about all the other sponsors she declined because she believed they were scams and would never promote something like that to her fans. All is well and good until she continued her rant, bashing her own subscribers for thinking the Kenza brushes were also a scam.

YouTube videos covering Gabbie’s scandal

Gabbie learned quickly after that apologizing for any inconvenience should not include placing the blame on her audience. She was flustered when unable to adequately answer the legitimate concerns her viewers had and responded by claiming they should, “manage their expectations.” Even though the website advertises that these “free” brushes have an $80 value. If Gabbie had done more research into Kenza Cosmetics and reviewed them critically this all could have been avoided. After receiving massive backlash from her fanbase, Gabbie deleted the video. Other channels on the platform quickly picked up the scandal and criticized Gabbie for refusing to take responsibility and making excuses for the company she had failed to research. This is why it is essential in the era of the internet to be critical of information being advertised online for both creators and viewers.

The Truth

a disappointed fan tweeting at Gabbie

Kenza Cosmetics is actually a dropship company, not a wholesale company like Gabbie claimed. The difference is significant, to say the least. Dropship companies do not keep their advertised products in stock, but transfer orders and shipment details to either another retailer or a wholesaler, who then send out products to awaiting customers. Wholesalers buy large quantities of goods from vendors or producers, store the products, and then resells them to retailers. This is why fans ended up waiting (some are still waiting) for months instead of weeks. This vital piece of information could have helped Gabbie if she had done a quick Google search of these definitions.

Kenza states on their website that the reason for the brushes pricing is that they are clearing out inventory. It is impossible for Kenza to “clear out” their inventory because they don’t keep any inventory. Gabbie claimed she would be doing her due diligence but failed to do so and inform her fans of her supposed findings.

The Aftermath

Since Gabbie Hanna dropped the ball on calling out her own sponsor, as did others who were sponsored by Kenza such as Tana Mongeau, other channels took the stage to protect viewers from falling victim. Here are a few of those channels:

After news of Kenza Cosmetics spread, many YouTubers who had critically reviewed Kenza or stated a negative opinion on the company were sent emails asking them to remove their content or be sued. Many refused while some complied. Enough material remained to remind everyone of what type of business Kenza Cosmetics is and why people should consider buying their make-up brushes elsewhere.

This incident exemplifies how imperative it is to critically review a company or source before trusting it, especially if planning to collaborate with that entity to sell a product to trusting fans. Viewers also learned the hard lesson of not merely purchasing a product because one of their favorite YouTubers sponsor it.

Gabbie Hanna made a mistake by not doing more research into Kenza before deciding to be a sponsor for them. However, it is vital to acknowledge that she did review many other potential sponsors and refused their offers because she found fault in the company or product. In a couple of her videos, she even warns fans to stay away from specific companies where she had personal experiences with scams.

YouTubers have a responsibility to their fans to understand what it is they are promoting to their audience. What they choose to promote reflects on them as a creator and as a person. The viewers who are exposed to these sponsorships have the responsibility to look beneath the surface of what is presented to them as well.

Further Reading:


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