Social media influencers are everywhere these days, but one ice cream truck owner has seen more than enough of them. Joe Nicchi, founder of Los Angeles-based CVT Soft Serve, gets hounded with requests from influencers all the time to provide ice cream in exchange for social media posts.
The problem is, he’s running a business and the first thing you’ll learn in an Economics 101 class is that giving away your wares for free is not a logical business move. Nicchi usually denies influencers’ requests via email, but he reached his breaking point June 27 when one influencers asked him to cater a 300-person event in exchange for “exposure,” as Nicchi told VICE. That’s when he instituted a new rule: influencers pay double.
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We’ve decided to make this thing official with signage. We truly don’t care if you’re an Influencer, or how many followers you have. We will never give you a free ice cream in exchange for a post on your social media page. It’s literally a $4 item...well now it’s $8 for you. #InfluencersAreGross
Nicchi posted an Instagram photo of himself highlighting his new business rule: Influencers pay double. He explained his thinking in the caption:
“We’ve decided to make this thing official with signage. We truly don’t care if you’re an Influencer, or how many followers you have. We will never give you a free ice cream in exchange for a post on your social media page. It’s literally a $4 item…well now it’s $8 for you. #InfluencersAreGross.“
Since Nicchi shared his new rule, his post appeared on Reddit and has gone as viral as, well, any post from a “top influencer.”
“The irony in all this is hilarious,” Nicchi tells TFLN via email. “Obviously we’re grateful for the exposure, but I’m just thrilled that people are learning about how fraudulent some ‘influencers’ are and their effect on small businesses.”
Nicchi’s CVT Soft Serve offers high-quality ice cream in free flavors: chocolate, vanilla, and twist (hence the name CVT). The truck has received numerous accolades, such as being named a “Definitive LA Food Truck” by Goop and a “Best Food Truck in LA” by LA Weekly.
So, Nicchi doesn’t really need any help from people calling themselves influencers. His ice cream speaks for itself. And influencer-hating Redditors couldn’t get enough of Nicchi’s attitude.
“Can I pay $4 just for a video of instagrammers’ reactions when he tells them?” – BobbitTheDog
“General rule. If you are successful enough to have the type of exposure I need to make money, you can probably afford the product.” – LDKCP
“Is “Influencer” a job? I’d be so embarrassed to say that’s what I did for a living.
I was even embarrassed to say I was a professional DJ back when I was in college because it felt like I wasn’t actually producing anything. I was just getting paid to play as I guess I would say.
As a hobby sure that’s cool, you do you. But once you start asking for free ice cream by promising free publicity it’s just pathetic.” – SFDessert
“The problem is that every teenager with an instagram account in LA thinks that they’re a “social influencer.”” – Luckboy28
“I would pay him double just for the fact he has this policy.” – heelsbasketball
CVT soft serve forever.