Ah, we’ve once again out-millennialed ourselves. We’re all pretty familiar with Instagram influencers: those people who collect hundreds of thousands or millions of followers and display their lives for the common Insta scroller to be jealous of. Curated to show their luxury-laden existences, they entice their following to buy into the idea that they all have to have this bathing suit, that travel credit card, this resort reservation, or that fitness shake.
Meanwhile, that dewey-eyed Instagram model and a few of her fellow influencer “friends” are being plopped aboard one of the 11,200+ private jets in the United States to some exotic tropical paradise — all for free. Except, their curated vacation had better expose the freebies they’re being gifted and convince other people to buy into the fun. Because, like, it’s the influencer lifestyle.
We scroll through this on a second by second basis and, with Instagram being one of the most used apps on earth, it’s not such a bad idea to toss some stuff at people who can expose it to millions of others. If you give a free shirt that usually costs $30 to an influencer with 6 million followers and 1% of their followers buy one, you’ve just reached 60,000 people and made $1.8 million off a giveaway to the right person. It’s a bit more complex than that, but that’s the simplified foundation of it.
A restaurant called This Is Not A Sushi Bar is a sushi bar in Milan, Italy. The restaurant’s owners took to the idea of Instagram influencer marketing in a way that hasn’t been double tapped yet. Of all internet users, 80% of them are smartphone owners. They know influencer culture pretty well and the fact that we’re glued to our phones, so earlier this month the restaurant owners started letting people pay for their food with Instagram followers.
“The idea was born with two goals: to stimulate in an innovative and inclusive way in-store consumption and the participation of our clients, given that over 90% of our activity is concentrated on delivery,” says founder Matteo Pittarello.
Given that mobile commerce, food delivery included, makes up 30% of all e-commerce in the United States alone, it’s not such a bad idea. But, how does it work? Basically, the more Instagram followers you have, the more food you can get for free. The only thing you have to do is post a picture on Instagram while at the restaurant, tag @thisisnotasushibar, and use the hashtag #thisisnotasushibar. Present all this before leaving and, depending on your following, items will be taken off your bill.
However, there is a scale that gives (obviously) preferential treatment to people with more followers than less:
- 1,000 to 5,000 followers: one free plate of sushi.
- 5,000 to 10,000 followers: two free plates.
- 10,000 to 50,000 followers: four free plates.
- 50,000 to 100,000 followers: eight free plates.
- 100,000+ followers: a full lunch or dinner for free.
The restaurant owners aim to make this a permanent thing, but we’ll see how that pans out. Will this bring more people into the restaurant or will people take advantage of free sushi until the idea is abandoned? Either way, it focuses on the reality of social media having a strong influence on our consumption habits, eating or otherwise.
“Social media is shaping our lives whether we like it or not, we just play along. Everybody else is always welcome in our restaurant. If they’re not an influencer they can just pay normally. We like to make sure we’re inclusive.”
Thank goodness for their inclusivity. Normies can eat there and pay with their normie currency, too.
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