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Fashion influencer Ferragni fined $1.2 million in Christmas cake advertising case

Companies controlled by Italian fashion influencer Chiara Ferragni must pay a fine of €1.075 million ($1.18 million) for unfair commercial practices related to sales of a Christmas cake, Italy’s antitrust authority (AGCM) said on Friday.

AGCM also fined Italian cake maker Balocco €420,000.

The penalties stem from a probe the regulator announced in June, related to a Ferragni-branded Balocco pandoro – a Christmas alternative to panettone – sold in Italy late last year, at over 9 euros each, compared to under 4 euros for a regular Balocco pandoro.

AGCM said advertising and higher pricing misled consumers to think that by buying the cake, they were directly contributing to a charity for bone cancer research at a hospital in Turin, and also that Ferragni was herself making donations.

Balocco had made a €50,000 one-off payment to the hospital months before launching the Ferragni pandoro, so sales for the product had no effect on charity donations, the regulator said.

It added that the Ferragni-related companies it sanctioned gave no money to the Turin hospital, despite receiving more than €1 million for the branding initiative and for related promotional activities.

Ferragni, 36, is one of the world’s most famous fashion influencers, with nearly 30 million followers on Instagram.

Ferragni’s press office and Balocco did not immediately return requests for comment.

(Published 15 December 2023, 10:24 IST)

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