Elle Darby vs the White Moose Cafe… where do we even start with this drama? I suppose at the beginning but let’s do it quickly because it’s almost old news.
On January 16, The White Moose Cafe posted on Facebook how they were declining an opportunity emailed to them by a social media influencer. While personal details were partially obscured, it still exposed the person behind the email – Elle Darby. Elle Darby is a YouTuber with (now 95K) subscribers. As a result of the post by White Moose Cafe, Elle experienced significant hate spewed on her channel and on Instagram. So, she responded saying how she was exposed. People were upset at the White Moose Cafe and took to their page to spew venom at the owner Paul Stenson. Since then, a kind of digital battle has been raging. The White Moose Cafe first issuing a fake apology, banned Bloggers, and issuing an invoice to Elle Darby for promotion.
Our Take: Elle Darby
On the surface, it’s hard not to feel for Elle. In an industry that does involve a lot of freebies/discounts in exchange for coverage/promotion… we understand why she contacted them. It’s something that many in this field will do regularly, and the results can benefit both parties. There’s nothing inherently wrong about pitching a business. But, there is an important lesson to learn here: do your research. For starters, the White Moose Cafe has a history of being controversial. I mean, they literally parodied this EXACT situation in October.
So, takeaway #1: Do your research before you pitch anyone.
Now let’s talk about the pitch itself… piss poor. Elle didn’t even do the research to use Paul’s name. She also contacted the wrong person entirely (more on that later). Worse still, she failed to show why it would be valuable to the White Moose Cafe. You may have worked with Universal Orlando – but what does that mean to the White Moose Cafe? Did you have a promo code that 10,000 people used? You need to show value when pitching. Influence isn’t CREATING CONTENT, it’s SHOWING RESULTS. Content creation is valuable but it’s not the same as proving your value. If you can’t prove that for every dollar they give you, will result in $10+ coming in – don’t bother.
Takeaway #2: If you’re asking for something, prove your value.
She’s asking for 5 free nights in exchange for promotion. Assuming she is actually influential, she’s doing her audience a disservice. For starters, she’s a beauty YouTuber. Looking through her channel, the last time she posted anything travel related was 6-months ago. Her audience is not there for her travel content. So, any content created for the White Moose Cafe will fall on the wrong target market. If she was a travel vlogger… she has a stronger case. But in this case, she’s just being entitled.
Takeaway #3: Know your audience and deliver value to them.
Your audience is there because they trust you and want your unbiased opinion on things. There’s an extremely fine line between delivering value, and being a shill. When you’re not even willing to pay for something – why should your audience? She wrote in her email “I came across your stunning hotel and would love to feature you”… well, why couldn’t she do that without having to ask for it for free? Share what you LOVE, not what’s given to you. (Maybe the next time you visit, they would have comped your stay as a thank you.)
Takeaway #4: Don’t shill what you wouldn’t pay for.
The White Moose Cafe is a local small restaurant – they are NOT a hotel. That said, they are part of the Charleville Lodge, 3-star rowhouse style rooms (30 in total). But, the two entities are different. The White Moose Cafe serves gluten-filled food… not provide accommodations (research). But regardless, they are a small business! If a small business wants to work with you, let them come to you. If you want to promote a small business – do it because you love it and want to support them! You get people asking you to promote things for them daily – and don’t do it because what you do has value. Small businesses are on the same grind.
Takeaway #5: Support small businesses!!
Our Take: White Moose Cafe’s Paul Stenson
White Moose presents "House of Influencers"Starring Jen Hatton SketchesProduced by Paul V. StensonDirected by Gerardwalshfilmmaker
Posted by The White Moose Café on Sunday, October 22, 2017
Paul is a bit of a dick. A wanker. A twat. A bellend. There are lots of things to call Paul, and they are all deserved. But he is also a partial genius. They say “never let a good crisis go to waste” and Paul is putting on a clinic with regards to outrage marketing. He’s delivering his establishment massive social media and traditional media exposure at no cost. Arguably, he should invite Elle Darby over for a free night stay at this point. Is he hateable? Absolutely. Does it hurt his business? Nope. He’s done this many times before (vegans/gluten free people), and this time is paying off more than ever.
Our Take: Society
Elle Darby is entitled and lacks any kind of business mindset. Paul Stenson is an asshole, but using it to promote his business. Society is a trash fire, and we’re all going to hell. The simple fact that this spread so fast backed by such ire is a sign of how messed up society is. Our desire to be outraged is only getting worse and leading us to a ‘lemmings over the cliff’ mob. If this story legit made you angry at either Paul of the White Moose Cafe or at Elle for having pitched it in the first place – your priorities in life are a mess. This silly drama is nothing more than backpage fodder, yet has become an international story.
So the real loser in this is us. Yes, there are things we can learn from it (as content creators)… but, we should recognize how ridiculous this whole thing is and forget it ever happened.