Drawing the Line: The Controversial Impact of Tattoo Design Fees in the Digital Age

In May 2023, a video went viral on social media where a woman sought the services of a tattoo artist named Joseph. She sent him two reference images of a fox tattoo, to which Joseph responded with a rough draft. However, the client was not pleased with the design – she found the fox incomplete, and there were unwanted additions such as flowers. The crux of the issue was that she couldn’t back out as she had already paid the so-called “design fee”.

The client was furious and felt that it shouldn’t be this hard to negotiate. The artist stated that the $2600 only covered one revision, but because the client was entirely unsatisfied, it would need a complete redesign, and thus, she would have to pay another full fee. If she didn’t agree, no tattooing would occur, and the artist wouldn’t refund the money.

Following this incident, the artist received serious backlash online, with many negative reviews, one-star ratings on Google, and even death threats. Many people on the internet empathized with the client’s experience.

Key Takeaways

Happy customers bring satisfaction and growth. We don’t need to please everyone, but we should never underestimate the impact of an unsatisfied customer. In the unpredictable world of the internet, this might be a wise strategy to protect one’s business.


The “Cake Gate”: A Delicious Drama of Customer Satisfaction in the Social Media Era

In April 2023, the owner of a cake shop revealed that she had received her worst customer experience since opening the shop. This customer ordered a rainbow cake with six colors. The owner even showed in a video how she made this cake. The cake was quite labor-intensive, dyed layer by layer, covered with cream layer by layer, and decorated with multi-colored sprinkles. This 8-inch cake was sold for $76. Then the owner exposed herself that the customer was very dissatisfied after receiving it and even complained on Facebook that they didn’t like the sprinkles. The customer felt the cake was not worth the price. The owner’s post about this difficult customer initially attracted quite a lot of positive response.


Worst client experinece so far 😅 #cake #cakes #cakedecorating #cakedecorator #rainbowcake #fypシ #fyp #sprinkles #cakesoftiktok #karen #badclient

♬ original sound – Kylie Allen

A few days later, however, the customer posted her version of the incident. She showed the photo of the cake she received, and the internet went crazy because this cake was completely different from the demo cake by the owner. The real cake was very small. The owner claimed it could feed 17 people, which was too obviously impossible. Then the words “Happy Birthday Trilby” were written in black sauce on top. Trilby is the name of the customer’s mother.


Replying to @sarahkaitlyn9 #cakedecorating #cakedrama #rainbowcake #kylie #cakeandtea

♬ Titanic flute fail – Funny/Awesome Vids

People started to blame the owner. The fury made both the owner and the customer’s videos go viral. The funniest thing was that it attracted many cake makers to post their attempts to make a better cake. They made similar rainbow cakes, got them well sprinkled, and wrote the same “Happy Birthday Trilby” on top. Trilby was really lucky, as she attracted so many bakers to make birthday cakes for her.

Key Takeaways

The cake shop owner seemed like a combative person on the internet. As a result, her posts attracted backlash. Most articles analyzed the so-called “Cake Gate” and considered this owner a failure and even thought her cake shop might not survive. One critic said, “In business, you should always take the high road,” meaning business people should be cautious and speak elegantly.

However, after several months, it seems that the smarter one was the cake shop owner. She took the initiative fearing that the customer would complain about her first. So she complained about the customer first and confessed first. The result was successful: Her video’s views were more than 10 times that of her customer’s. The customer’s video was watched by 1.2 million people, while the owner’s video had been watched by more than 10 million people. The articles and magazines referring to the Cake Gate mostly referred only to the original video (the owner’s video), not the follow-up video (the customer’s). Most importantly, after the incident, the view count was generally two to three times higher than before, meaning people would continue to watch the owner. And cake is something everyone has a chance to buy one or two of, so it seems this owner’s business should be getting better.


From 0 to 200k fans by 1 post: The Ingenious Social Media Strategy of a Car Repair Shop

A social media account for a ‘car repair shop’ astonishingly gained 200,000 fans from zero within just a week. All this was accomplished by a single post on a new TikTok account. The community manager, a 29-year-old, confessed that he had lied on his resume to get the job. The plea in the first post was: “Please flood this post with comments so I don’t get fired.”


Job market is tough rn 😒 #bodyshoplife #shoplife #autobody

♬ オリジナル楽曲 – unicouniuni – I’m Uni.

Everyone instantly understood. The car body shop chose a very smart way to promote itself, using the universally relatable concept of “lying on a resume.” The content of the post was just an animated picture of a huge cat sitting on the roof of the car repair shop. The shop looked like a large warehouse, and the cat on top was ten times larger than the cars nearby, quite startling.

The key question is, why did people like this post? Many online analyses said it’s because they successfully mixed a cat with the story of a faked resume. But there’s more to it.

Key Takeaways

People didn’t like it just because the cat marketing was genius, or because they genuinely wanted to help this young guy. Instead, most people were simply curious: what would happen if this trick actually made this person appear as a truly competent social media manager in the eyes of their boss? What if the person who was hired because of a faked resume suddenly saw his dream come true? It was somewhat like a practical joke, allowing an average person to become an overnight superstar, which was kind of funny.

Surprisingly, this person later admitted that he wasn’t lying on his resume after all. After gaining 200,000 followers in a week, he confessed that he had been working with the company for three years and maintained a good working relationship, contrary to the threat of being fired.

The online community wasn’t upset by his lie, as it was all just for fun. After achieving the goal of 200,000 followers, people were ready to see what the person would ‘perform’ next. As the first post set up the character of a ‘big boss’, the ‘big boss’ had to keep showing up. The boss, known as ‘bossman’, frequently appeared in the following videos. One day, the boss was irritated because he was constantly receiving calls due to good reviews on Google, slammed the door, and there was the rotating cat again. Thus, the cat, the boss, and the community manager’s predicament all continued to exist, and everyone just kept watching along.


Leveraging Virality: The Ingenious ‘Influencer Marketing’ Strategy of a Chapman University Professor

In April 2023, Professor Matthew Prince from Chapman University in California got creative. He was teaching a cool course “Influencer Marketing”. To make his class even cooler, he proposed a challenge: if any student could become viral on social media, he would cancel the final exam! He later clarified that “viral” meant getting 1 million views in one post. That challenge was given out on the first day of class, and there was a whole semester ahead to try.


My professor said if our class got a tiktok to 1 million likes he would cancel the final!! Please like!!! #communicationsclass #influencermarketing #finalexam #college


While he was making this announcement, a student sitting in the back immediately picked up her phone and recorded it. She zoomed in on the instructions written on the blackboard and also filmed a classmate. She may have originally intended to just make notes, but then she thought, why not put this online and tell the public: my professor said, if you get 1 million views, the final exam will be cancelled!

Guess what happened. Within just one day, the video had already been viewed by 1 million people. The professor then immediately announced that the final exam would be cancelled this year! All the students were overjoyed.

Key Takeaways

This case is the best demonstration how the most “genuine” videos get viral on the internet. However, there’s more to the story. You’ll find that the truly smart one might be the professor, not the student. This professor was actually one of the senior PR executives at Taco Bell. It’s impressive to see how he was leveraging these young students to gain virality. He knew that young people would think of all kinds of ways, so he was certain there was such a possibility—that these kids could really get 1 million clicks. And indeed, when one student did get so many clicks, the professor did something smart too. He could have waited until the next class to announce the cancelation of the final, but instead he immediately went online and directly announced the cancellation in response to the viral video, thereby driving some traffic to his TikTok account.

This professor truly demonstrated the perfect example of “killing with a borrowed knife”. In the world of social media, authenticity is highly valued. No matter how much the professor tried, his “persona” was still sounding “fake”. But the students were the most genuine. So, how to leverage these “naturally authentic personas”, and not just one person, but the entire class, would give him a high chance of going viral. Look at this video: if there hadn’t been a female student showing up and making a funny face, it would have lessened the fun of the whole thing. Only a professor with so many students could trigger such a “killing with a borrowed knife” marketing strategy. So, the real genius is the professor.

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