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Pandoro-Gate: Recap of Chiara Ferragni’s Media Controversy

From a social trendsetter to the center of a commercial scandal, Chiara Ferragni, the renowned Italian influencer, has been fined by the Antitrust for her promotional campaign during Pink Christmas 2022, dubbed the Pandoro-Gate. She is under investigation for alleged unfair business practices that may have harmed uninformed buyers. The impact has been significant: 157,000 followers lost in the first two weeks since the news surfaced.

Amidst strategy, misguided marketing, and some blatant lies coming to light, let’s explore what has transpired so far for the social media queen. The media case quickly circled the social media world, earning the moniker Pandoro-Gate.

Promotional Campaign with Balocco

During the 2022 holiday season, the Italian confectionery company Balocco selected Chiara Ferragni as the face of a special pandoro, priced nearly three times higher than the non-branded equivalent. The allure? As initially announced by Ferragni on social media, a portion of the proceeds would be donated to the Regina Margherita Hospital in Turin for osteosarcoma and Ewing sarcoma research.

Pandoro signed Chiara Ferragni, with pink powdered sugar – Pandoro-Gate | Credit

Fraudulent Advertising Campaign

In reality, Chiara Ferragni pocketed almost a million euros, while Balocco had already donated 50,000 euros six months before the advertising campaign launch. The truth led to a hefty fine of one million euros for Chiara Ferragni and an obligation for Balocco to pay 420 million euros.

As they say, the truth always comes to light, and fortunately, tradition prevails in this case.

Massive Fine for Chiara Ferragni and Balocco

104 prosecutors issued identical complaints against the social media queen: aggravated fraud in the Balocco Pandoro charity campaign. Slowly, people are exposing the missteps of the Cremonese influencer, and the situation is becoming clearer.

December 15 is the day of the big lie for the Ferragni family, the day when the cards are revealed and the fraudulent initiative is spread through social media. Following days of media silence, Chiara Ferragni, who has turned social media into her profession, remained silent for days. No posts or stories for her followers—absolute silence. Perhaps it was a period of reflection?

Followers at a Crossroads: Intentional Error or Media Oversight?

With the serious errors of the influencer and the confectionery company now apparent, another question arises. Was the action intentional, or was it simply the result of an innocent oversight? Deceiving sick children and buyers hanging on her every word, understandably, did not sit well with tens of thousands of followers. From December 15 (the day of truth) to December 27, her Instagram profile shows a negative balance of 157,000 followers. A significant portion of the social population no longer sees her as a transparent, honest, and empathetic figure. But the situation would take a turn for the worse shortly after.

On December 19, after days of media silence, Chiara returns to the spotlight with an apology video, which seems contrived, pre-prepared, and, above all, lacking in truth. Skepticism meets the gesture. It appears more like another mockery for those who, naively, believed in her fundraising campaign for sick children.

Screenshot taken from the apology video posted on social media by Chiara Ferragni – Pandoro-Gate | Credit

Here is an excerpt from her speech, heavily contested on social media. Broken voice, strangely unkempt hair, and a subdued demeanor. “I have always believed that those who are more fortunate have a moral responsibility to do good. These are the values that have always driven me and my family. This is what we teach our children.” She continues on the topic of mistakes: “We also teach them that one can make mistakes and that when it happens, one must admit it and, if possible, rectify the mistake and learn from it. And that’s what I want to do now. Apologize and give substance to this action of mine: I will donate 1 million euros to Regina Margherita to support children’s care.”

She says, “I realized I made a communication error. An error that I will learn from in the future, completely separating any charitable activities, which I have always done and will continue to do, from commercial activities.”

The influencer expressed herself to the world about a communication error, a move that was not well received. This is because the prosecutor, during the investigation, uncovered some email exchanges between Ferragni and the Balocco advertising team, contradicting her version. It turns out that for the confectionery company, it was crucial to emphasize support for the charity project without mentioning sales because, indeed, Balocco had already donated 50,000 euros before the launch of the advertising campaign.

For this reason, the message spread by Ferragni does not smell like poor communication but rather reeks of something rotten. However, the full involvement of the Balocco company in the entire affair is still to be seen, as it is still part of the campaign distributed in a completely wrong way.

Chiara Ferragni apologizes and talks about a communication error | Credit

End of the Coca-Cola Ad after the Pandoro-Gate

On social media, news travels fast, and apparently, the media storm that hit the influencer after The Coca-Cola Company did not appreciate the Pandoro-Gate. The impact on the entrepreneur’s image prompted the American giant to reverse course and search for another spokesperson for the new ad.

Adding to the negative responses is also the company Safilo, which, a few days before Christmas terminated the licensing contract for Ferragni-branded eyewear, signed in March 2021.

 Milan Prosecutor Investigates the 2022 Easter Eggs

On December 21, the Milan prosecutor opened an investigation into another advertising campaign that featured Ferragni as the spokesperson. This concerns the Easter eggs that follow the same pattern as the branded pandoro scam. The owner of the Dolci Preziosi brand has already confirmed that the influencer received a fee of 500,000 euros in 2021 and 700,000 euros in 2022, against a donation of only 36,000 euros to the “I bambini delle fate” association.

Even the Easter eggs end up under accusation | Credit

The ongoing investigations aim to determine whether the Easter eggs were or were not a presumed commercial operation by Ferragni disguised as a charity campaign to raise funds for sick children.

Despite Chiara Ferragni’s claims of good faith and a simple communication error, the scandal continues to keep her in the spotlight. Ongoing investigations cast further shadows on the influencer’s activities, while her status as a transparent and empathetic icon crumbles under the weight of controversies.

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