A beach club in the Philippines has expressed its stand on privileged social media influencers who ask for free things in exchange for publicity and exposure.
In a recent Facebook post, White Banana Beach Club announced to its followers that they are not interested in collaborating with wannabe-Instagram “influencers.”
“We are receiving many messages regarding collaborations with influencers, Instagram influencers,” the now-viral post read. “We kindly would like to announce that White Banana is not interested to ‘collaborate’ with self-proclaimed ‘influencers’.
“And we would like to suggest to try another way to eat, drink, or sleep for free. Or try to actually work.”
Gianluca Casaccia, who manages and co-owns the club with his wife, Manila-born Gayle Villaluz, tells CNN in an interview that the post was intended as a “sarcastic and direct attempt” to discourage wannabe-influencers from contacting them for free accommodation and other things.
“These freeloaders would write ‘Hi, I’m an influencer, we like your place, we’re staying from xxx February to xxx February, we’re three people, you provide food and drinks and we draft an Instagram post and we tag you on our story,'” Casaccia was quoted as saying. “I think it’s offensive. I initially thought they were trolling us.”
The post, which became widely shared by netizens, soon generated thousands of reactions and comments. Those who shared disdain for freeloading vloggers and Instagram models commended Casaccia for taking a stand.
However, there were also those who found his tone condescending and saw nothing wrong with social media influencers negotiating with businesses.
Casaccia further noted that such publicity from Instagram influencers is not really that necessary for places like the White Banana Beach Club.
“Siargao was already famous and we are providing an excellent service. The White Banana was already the White Banana before this social media storm — that’s why everyone wanted to come for free,” he continued.
“I didn’t want to give any lessons but someone had to address the elephant in the room. I can’t believe we became world famous for saying the most obvious thing in the world: Pay your bills.”
In a follow-up post, Casaccia explained that he isn’t targeting influencers in general, but just those freeloaders who often have just a few social media followers.
“A REAL influencer is called as such by the rest, he does not address him/herself as an influencer,” he noted. “They are bloggers. We have actually collaborated with a few of them, in different terms and conditions, and we support them.”