The Italian fashion influencer was under fire for allegedly deceiving her followers to buy a pink frosted cake.
Fashion is a volatile industry. Trends and fads influence the movement of fashion. Almost everything is ever-changing, from logomania to the rise of quiet luxury. Furthermore, one of the most noticeable changes is how brands are marketed to consumers. Before, designer fashion houses and contemporary brands are eyeing to be in one of the pages of a fashion magazine. However, the rise of the internet and social media changed the fashion industry—influencer marketing was born. One such pioneer of influencer marketing is Chiara Ferragani.
Chiara Ferragni rose to fame in the fashion industry through her blog, The Blonde Salad. She was one of the first few people to recognize the power of social media—hence, luxury and designer brands reached out and collaborated with her. Moreover, she used her newfound fame to build a business. She started her eponymous brand and branched out to other different fields like marketing.
The famed fashion personality went to Instagram and posted an apology video to her 29.4 million followers. Ferragni apologized because it was reported that she misled her followers. During the holidays of 2022, she ran a campaign where she was advertising her pink frosted pandoro cake, which is worth nine Euros. Moreover, she claimed that the proceeds from buying her cake would be going to a donation to a children’s hospital.
However, the Italian Competition Authority, or the AGCM, released a statement saying the parties involved in the campaign were unfair to the consumers. First, the AGCM found that Balocco, the cake manufacturer, made a fixed contribution to the hospital months before the campaign. Second, the social media fashion personality disseminated false information—such as buying the Ferragni branded cake over the regular cake will contribute to a donation. Lastly, the Authority found out the “Ferragni branded” pandoro is sold at about two and a half times the price of the classic Balocco pandoro. In the end, the Authority fined Ferragni 1.075 million Euros.
Feeling scammed, Ferragni’s followers voiced their frustrations on social media. Furthermore, people unfollowed the social media personality. In her apology video, she said that it was a communication error and she made her mistakes in good faith. She will be challenging the findings of the AGCM.
The ruckus online prompted the Prime Minister of Italy, Giorgia Melon, to speak out. Though she did not mention names, she spoke out against influencers who promoted expensive cakes that make people believe they are charitable.
Aside from the statement of the Prime Minister, Italy also tightened its rules regarding influencer marketing. As per Channel News Asia, any advertising content posted needs to be clearly labeled to be recognized as such—failure to comply risks fines of up to 600,000 euros.
Banner photo via Instagram @chiaraferragni.