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The most known Italian influencer caught in the act of making misleading advertising

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Italy’s best-known influencer, Chiara Ferragni, with more than 29 million followers on Instagram, who is so famous that she has joined the board of directors of a very famous cosmetics brand, has made a blatant mistake that damages her image and will lead her and the company she sponsors to pay a very heavy fine.

The Ferragni’s Mess is called “Balocco Affair.” The Antitrust Authority imposed a fine of more than one million euros for the companies Fenice and TBS Crew, which manage trademarks and rights related to the influencer’s personality and personal identity. The fines were 400,000 euros and 675,000 euros, respectively. Balocco Industria Dolciaria is also fined 420 thousand euros.

An unfair commercial practice is charged for advertising Pandoro Pink Christmas, branded Chiara Ferragni, suggesting to consumers that by buying it, they would contribute to a donation to the Regina Margherita Hospital in Turin. Instead, the donation had been made upstream and was in no way linked to the products actually sold. Customers had been led to believe that with their purchases they would contribute to the purchase of a new machine for the therapeutic treatment of children with osteosarcoma and Ewing’s sarcoma.

According to the investigation, Chiara Ferragni’s two companies collected the sum of more than 1 million euros in fees for licensing trademarks and creating advertising content without paying anything to the Regina Margherita Hospital in Turin, the Antitrust Authority reports. The Antitrust Authority identified several steps in the unfair practice implemented in the commercial transaction, which involved paying 9 euros for Pandoro signed by the influencer instead of 3.70, the commercial price of the same product without the brand name. But in reality, the donation by the confectionery company had already taken place months earlier than the November 2022 launch, in May 2022, to be precise.

The Antitrust Authority also discovered that a cartouche attached to every Ferragni Padondoro corroborated the customers’ belief in hospital donations. In addition, along these lines, the influencer’s social communications also attested to the fact that buying Pandoro Pink Christmas could contribute to the donation and that Ferragni directly participated in the donation. All of this, upon completion of the investigation, turned out to be untrue.

To this, it should be added that the selling price of the designer product, about twice as much as the normal price, according to the Antitrust Authority, also contributed to customers’ belief that they were personally contributing to donations by purchasing it. This practice considerably restricted consumers’ freedom of choice by leveraging their sensitivity to charitable initiatives. Violations were found in the duty of professional diligence under Article 20 of the Consumer Code, while unfair commercial practice had elements of deceptiveness under Articles 21 and 22 of the Consumer Code.

This event was a huge scandal in Italy and in every newspaper, but it was time to have some truth in an influencer’s life.

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