This Ice Cream Truck Is so Fed up With Instagram Influencers That It Charges Them Double

This Ice Cream Truck Is so Fed up With Instagram Influencers That It Charges Them Double

Social media influencers are known for drawing the ire of photographers and other businesses when they request free products and services in exchange for that ever-nebulous thing known as "exposure." Fed up with the ridiculous requests he has received, the owner of a famous L.A. ice cream truck has made it his new policy that influencers pay double. 

Joe Nicchi is the owner of the CVT Soft Serve ice cream truck in LA, and he's about had it with social media influencers asking for free ice cream and catering in exchange for shout-outs on their accounts. The straw that broke the camel's back came last week, when Nicchi says: 

[I] got an event request to do a party on a weekend for 300 people in exchange for the word [influencers] love to use, which is 'exposure.' I can't do that; I can't work for free.

Fed up, Nicchi made the sign you see below, hanging it on the truck. 

The post has gained a ton of traction and support, particularly from businesses that deal with these sorts of requests on a daily basis. Nicchi doubled down on his stance a few days later, creating a second post with the caption:

We couldn’t care less about how many followers you have, and we’re super embarrassed for you when you tell us.

Who wants to come get some ice cream with me? 

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90 Comments

Previous comments
Andre Goulet's picture

The 'influencer' can see the sign, plain as day, and not say anything and get his ice cream for $4.00. No harm, no foul.

michaeljin's picture

That's hardly the point. I'm just asking a question about legality when it comes to pricing the same item differently—when you're allowed to do it and when you're not. For instance, if I know that somebody is a hedge fund manager, can I charge them more for the same product than someone whom I know is making $15 at Walmart just based on my knowledge that one person is a hedge fund manager and they can probably pay more? Am I allowed to have two separate menus—one that I give to people who come in wearing suits and the other to give to people who come in wearing a t-shirt and jeans? Maybe you're not interested in this stuff, but for me this case brought up a question that I thought was interesting in the abstract.

Jason Lorette's picture

Bloody brilliant...ha!

Patrick Rosenbalm's picture

Good for him! We musicians have to deal with "Play for Exposure" from cheap venues. They might hook a few late teens and early 20s musicians but anyone else beyond that will tell them No or FU.

Anthony Cayetano's picture

Will he accept the exposure bucks I have been paid all these years? I’m willing to pay double!

dale clark's picture

The term influencer has really taken off since the college scandals a few months back. Before, I rarely heard the term.

Rob Mitchell's picture

Utterly brilliant. What a hero.

What about the "public figure"? That seems to be the new rage. I really don't know what this one implies. Anyone help me out on that?

lee arthur's picture

New perspective on free advertisement.
For those who disagree with the practice, go outside. Look at the back of your car. See the little sticker with the dealership's name on it? What do you think that is? In many states, it is a legal requirement for a car to be branded with the maker's name, but not the dealerships information. Now let's add a little perspective on this. NASCAR teams charges thousands or more for a sticker to be placed on their cars. How much are you being paid or how much of a discount where you given to drive around town advertising the dealership to the hundreds or thousands who see it each week.
And if you don't think it's important to the dealerships, why do you think they put it on in the first place, or better ask them to not include it on your next purchase or pay you fair market value.

michaeljin's picture

No I don't. What sticker? I've seen dealership license plates (I don't have mine since I replaced it with a team license plate), but outside of courtesy vehicles, I've never seen a dealership sticker or decal. Is there one hidden somewhere or is this a regional practice?

lee arthur's picture

Not knowing where you are located, I can't say this is a regional practice or not, but in Virginia, USA they are on just about every passenger vehicle sold.

michaeljin's picture

I'm in New York City and all I've seen here is dealer-branded license plates. Where do they stick them? In the rear window? Bumper?

Logan Cressler's picture

That dealer could easily claim that you are being compensated for that advertising. Don't like it? Order directly from ford and pay list price. Is the sticker worth five to ten thousand dollars to you? No, then pay list price.

Generally speaking, at the dealership, if you have an issue with the dealer badge, they will happily take it off before losing a sale.

I get what you are saying, but it is not a good analogy, either way, as if you were driving in one of the most broadcast sporting events in the US, I am sure people would be falling all over themselves to pay you millions to put Tide on your hood.

michaeljin's picture

The only way to get a new car is through a dealership, whether you purchase one off the showroom floor or order online and have it delivered there. Keep in mind that dealerships are legally protected regional monopolies. Still no clue about these stickers, but even if you order online and have the car delivered, the dealers around here will still put on a dealer-branded license plate by default come time to pick it up.

C Fisher's picture

I hate those, so glad my car didn't have one I'd be ripping it off in the lot.

"Fed up with the ridiculous requests he has received, the owner of a famous L.A. ice cream truck has made it his new policy that influencers pay double."

That's outrageous! He should charge them triple.

Given how many followers are nothing but bots, dummy-accounts or people who are likely nowhere near your business it is an exceedingly bad arrangement for a business like this.

Sometimes I get free stuff without asking, and I am pleased and surprised. Most likely they are not mistaking me for someone else, just compensating me for being the nice guy that I am.

I only try to influence people by demonstrating how to behave appropriately for the circumstances, smiling, and being nice to people.

Everything we need for our happiness is all around us.

Benoit Pigeon's picture

Giving influencers a bad rep and maximizing his ice cream business advertising on their account, 100% free, is a mega coup!

What a stupid image to use for the “news” you are sharing. Also, you pretty much copied the entire thing from other places but the image. You get paid to do this?

Logan Cressler's picture

This is mostly all this particular "writer" does, when he is not busy writing a 300 word blurb (to get SEO on google) about someone elses video on youtube. He seemingly cannot write a well researched new article, but sure does post a lot.

Alex Cooke's picture

I've written over 200 original articles for this site and multiple thesis documents for graduate-level degrees; I have plenty of experience writing well-researched articles.

Benoit Pigeon's picture

I don't go to too many sites to get news. Being or not being an original story is the last thing I care about. This one caught my attention, that's pretty much all I need.

Andre Goulet's picture

You do know that it's totally okay for you to skip over articles, authors, or even entire websites that you don't like, right?

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

Wrong. It's a perfect image because it's the kind of pics influencers take. That's what they look like.

Paul Asselin's picture

'Influencer' hmmmmm. Back in the day they were known as shills. Anyone who can be 'bought' for the price of an ice cream cone is likely to do anything for a buck.

C Fisher's picture

Why why why did you have to post this here? It's been coming up on my chrome homepage for a month and I'm so sick and tired of seeing this douchebag's face.

Everyone loves to hate on insta, how quickly we forget the Yelp-ageddon a few years back. It's not specific to any platform, entitled fucks want free stuff no matter what their social media of choice is. I'm sure there were people offering exposure on their MySpace accounts. "DO YOU EVEN KNOW WHO I AM?" is a phrase as old as time.

The virus infection called abdominal influencer...

I honestly hate when people look at such things as entitlement/ asking for handouts/ freeloading, etc.

Influencers are essentially saying they will advertise someone's business in exchange for a sample product.
I understand some people do not see the value in advertising, especially on social media, but I'm shocked by the amount of photographers on this website, simply, because FStoppers does the same thing!!

Maybe not with food or all trips, but damn sure they do it with gear rentals and products.
And it works, I'm influenced by their experiences and suggestions, which increases the odds I will visit where they have been or buy a $10,000 tripod. That has a value! I respect that too, it can be a win-win for all involved.

Do you think they pay to stay at most of the expensive homes they shoot in? No. Its probably a trade, "you let us stay in your multi-million dollar home you are trying to sell.
You'll get pics or a YouTube video which might help sell the place and we get to make a video and take pics in your cool home instead of us renting one."

Instagram influencers are doing exactly the same thing, same concept.

I don't see how you can complement FStoppers and at the same time criticize these influencers.

Advertising is a service of value, whether that value is worth the goods or service requested is a matter of opinion, but it is not a handout. It is a trade.

Some food places try to drive traffic buying Facebook ads or Google ads, but giving a local influencer a free ice cream may lead to far greater return on investment then most traditional advertising.

A few haters go viral though, because they fail to so the difference between someone with a million views on Instagram and a TV commercial that gets a million views.