Lynne Franks, who "changed the face of PR" and helped establish London Fashion Week, told PRWeek the influencer "marketing fad" is oversubscribed and will eventually "burn itself out".
Franks - who PRWeek interviewed for its 50 years of UK PR project - ran her eponymous agency for much of the 70s, 80s and early 90s, and is regarded as a genuine influencer in the UK fashion scene during this era.
"Any little girl can sit in her bedroom and talk about cosmetics and get paid a fortune just to talk about any nonsense and know how to buy in audiences on social media," she said.
"It’s just meaningless and will burn itself out. The trouble with these trends is they will all burn themselves out, they get oversubscribed and silly. [Influencer marketing] is silly now."
Franks also took umbrage with how the word ‘influencer’ was being used in this context, describing it as "just nonsense".
Franks’ inference that influencers buying audiences on social media has been backed up by several studies, which show the majority of influencers on Instagram have engaged in some level of fakery, whether it’s fake followers, fake likes, fake comments or bots.
A new study by the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance (ICMP) found that many Hollywood A-listers and sports stars also have shockingly high numbers of fake followers across their social media channels.
Leading the charge is German footballer Toni Kroos (51 per cent of followers are fake), Ellen DeGeneres (49 per cent) and Isco (49 per cent), while Kardashian sisters Kourtney (46 per cent) and Khloe (43 per cent) also polled high.