VinFast Admits Offering Cash To Matt Farah After Mistaking Him For An Influencer


Matt Farah recently claimed that VinFast, the Vietnamese automaker now selling cars in the USA, offered him $10,000 on top of a free trip to Vietnam to test and talk about its products. We reached out and talked to VinFast which has confirmed to Carscoops that it did indeed offer Farah cash for the trip as part of an outreach program. Evidently, a third-party company working with VinFast identified Farah as an influencer and not a journalist.

That company named Blue C says that it helps customers “grab attention, cultivate connections, and drive your business forward.” Using influencers to sell products certainly seems to be the way of the marketing world these days so it’s not totally unusual to see a car company go this route to get a little more attention.

Blue C posted a number of VinFast-related bits of content on its own Instagram page last year including one post that demonstrates its work with the automaker. It says “When @vinfastus was set to launch a brand new electric SUV, we helped secure, manage and execute a 10 person Influencer campaign at the prestigious New York International Auto Show.”

More: Matt Farah Claims Vinfast Offered Him $10,000 To Drive The VF8 And VF9 In Vietnam

VinFast confirmed that Blue C specifically contacted Farah because they identified him as an influencer, not a journalist. As such, they offered him cash for his “time and expenses… in accord with customary influencer rates.” 

Here’s what the company told us in an email:

“Matt Farah was contacted in March of last year by a company called Blue C, which was an agency VinFast was working with on an influencer outreach program for the New York International Auto Show, not the Vingroup Elite Vietnam Tour. The outreach conducted by the agency was specific to influencers only and not journalists. As Mr. Farah maintains both earned and paid media platforms, he was identified as an automotive influencer and not as a journalist. At that time, he was asked if he would be interested in providing content about VinFast on his social platform. He would be paid a commensurate rate for his time and expenses as well as for the amount of published content in accord with customary influencer rates. Mr. Farah declined the invitation to attend and that specific offer.”

Frankly, kudos to them for owning exactly what happened and how it happened. At the same time, it could give reason for anyone to question content related to VinFast products.

Again though, lots of brands engage in this sort of thing. I can tell you from personal experience that influencers are regular attendees at numerous press drive events. And influencers are what they are. They often receive compensation to influence their followers on social media platforms. But when they receive that compensation directly from an automaker to show off or talk about a brand or vehicle (let’s face it, it’s certainly not an unbiased review at that point) then it’s basically just advertising. They should make that clear.

That highlights the big difference between a journalist and an influencer too. As a journalist, I do get paid to review cars but never by the automaker. If I happen to think that the seats aren’t great, or that the door cards kinda suck, or that a particular excursion an automaker took me on isn’t all that good at demonstrating what it intended to, I can say that without any concern about my paycheck. It’s my job to give you unbiased and factual coverage that you can then use to make up your own mind about things.

We asked VinFast a number of follow-up questions regarding who decided how influencers are categorized, who was on that list, and whether or not these people have an ethical duty to disclose that they’re being paid to promote VinFast. The automaker has yet to respond but we’ll update this post if they do.


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