Facebook buys Instagram in bid to make brand advertising cool again

Recognizing that there is nothing intrinsically "hip" about affiliate marketing schemes, Facebook announced yesterday that it will purchase Instagram, the photo sharing social network preferred by all the cool kids.

Instagram Starbucks BMWBrand marketers largely applauded the move.

"This will allow consumers to bring their personal creativity and individual expression to bear when liking a major consumer brand," said Stephan Gleis, head of social media marketing at AltaSoc.

"Now if Facebook would only buy Klout," Gleis continued, "advertisers could learn something about brand direction by how consumers rate the effectiveness of a given user's brand promotion."

Other industry experts see a potential problem, however, in terms of brand integrity and potential brand dilution.

"Take a look at this early use of Instagram for Facebook," cautioned Daphne Braithwaite, CEO of brand management firm URmeLyk. "This consumer probably meant well, but as it happens, there really is no co-branding deal between Starbucks and BMW in place. There's no way to measure or effectively monetize this. It's a mess."

Legal experts expect that Facebook's terms of service will likely be amended in due course, to better police user challenges, intentioned or otherwise, to brand integrity.

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