Los Angeles Ice Cream truck CVT Soft serve doubles the price for Instagram Influencers - gets tons of free press.

The Los Angeles ice cream truck owner of CVT Softserve, Joe Nicchi, is tired of social media influencers trying to get free ice cream for @ mentions. He made it official with a sign that reads: “Influencers pay double“ 

“It’s literally a 4 dollar item. Well, now it’s 8 for you.”

In doing so, he created by himself a lot more influence than your general Influencer could ever bring him. Not only did this image appear in local - and thus relevant - subreddits garnering hundreds of comments, the Instagram post went viral.  Turns out, a lot of local L.A. people are fed up with Instagram influencers free ride, and side whole heartedly with CVT Softserves move.

To seal the deal, the LA Times Essential California newsletter wrote about it, as did the Guardian Newspaper. So now CVT Soft serve is world famous!

“At first I was confused,” Nicchi explained over the phone, before launching into a slightly different tone of voice to re-create one of the encounters: "It's like, 'Hey, what's up. So, I don't know if you follow me but I have a 100,000 followers. Could you hook me up with an ice cream? I'll post about you in my story.' ”

“It totally threw me. I'm like, this is a $4 item. What are you talking about?” And then it became normal, something that happened at least once a week. There was a constant barrage of influencers coming up to his truck or sending emails, demanding special treatment and devaluing his product — which, for the record, is a family recipe passed down from his father, who has long served soft-serve ice cream for dessert in his upstate New York restaurants.

Influencer marketing is definitely declining. As the LA Times points out, there's a recent backlash now. Interviewing Evan Asano, founder and CEO of Mediakix, a leading influencer marketing agency.

“Recently, there's been a huge backlash about it,” Asano said, explaining that many restaurants have made it a policy to no longer participate. “If you just have 10,000 followers and you want a free steak, it's just not going to happen anymore."

"Restaurants and hotels now are getting flooded. Some get 30 [requests] a day,” Asano said.

There's also the issue with reach turning into sales, which isn't always the case. Recall Arii, the influencer with over two million followers who couldn't sell 36 t-shirts. And sometimes, Influencers personal posts can reflect badly on your brand, as happened when a Swedish influencer cheered at the sight of a burning Notre Dam. His most recent post before that was a sponsored one, and the brand was stuck wielding all the angry comments.

So, with a well-timed pricing sign, and an Instagram post, the CVT Soft Serve ice cream truck just out-influenced the influencers, as he had something they don't. An idea. Remember those? They used to be the single most important thing in advertising. 

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SoCalLocal's picture

Hipster with $89 Nordstrom headband wages war against Instagram culture out of used truck after moving to LA from Illinois with no job lined up.

Reality Bites's picture

If you can't pay $4 for an Ice-Cream, you're not successful. I hate that influencers call is "collaborate" too. It's just begging for freebies.

FROYURT's picture

Ironically, he has morphed into an influencer. He better fuckin charge himself $8 a cone.

Dabitch's picture

Hahaha. True.

Hello Moto's picture