Founder Joe Nicchi, who started the business five years ago, shared on his social media pages that he would be charging influencers double for his popular soft-serve after becoming fed up with being bombarded with requests for free cones in exchange for exposure.
"#InfluencersAreGross", Nicchi shared on Instagram. "Haha by default, you are now an influencer", they wrote on Instagram.
Nicchi, who operates two trucks in LA, says he has always said no.
Instagram "influencers" are people with a relatively large following on the social media platform, who oftentimes solicit companies for "free" products in exchange for them promoting the business to their followers via Instagram posts. "I also think people appreciate our no-nonsense approach to the business both with our limited menu and our online posts". "It's literally a $4 item ... well now it's $8 for you". "It's great for our business to get the name out there, but it's also exciting that we can expose what they've been doing, the influencers".
He said that just last week he "received a request for an event to comp them 300 servings in exchange for "exposure" ..." "I'm not really 100 percent sure what they actually do, and their followers, likes, and comments can all be purchased, so I have trouble looking at them as being reputable". That's when he made a decision to take a stand and posted his sign to his truck and his photo to Instagram. We will never give you a free ice cream in exchange for a post on your social media page.
"We've decided to make this thing official with signage", wrote CVT Soft Serve in its Instagram post, "We truly don't care if you're an Influencer, or how many followers you have".
"There was nothing like it out here", Nicchi told CTVNews.ca during a telephone interview on Thursday.
The ice cream truck is something of an icon in its star-studded hometown, and has had some prolific visitors in the past, though it's unclear if the freebie-ban extended to them.
We said it once, we'll say it again - if you can't afford it, you can't expect to receive it for free simply because of how many followers you have. "Just some dirty looks from hipsters". "It's weird ... but I think it's really fun".
"Absolutely love that you did this.I'm so sick of this overdone social media influencers f--g culture!"
"We cater for some pretty big A-list talent in Hollywood, and I have no interest in giving them free product", he said.
Nicchi opened the bare bones ice cream truck in 2014 to sell just chocolate, vanilla or twist soft-serve ice cream out of a vintage Mr Softee.
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