There were the requests for free food, landing within 10 minutes of Miann owner Brian Campbell reopening his dessert restaurant after the Covid-19 lockdown.
"F***ing hell, this is such a piss-take", Campbell would say after "five or six" influencers asked for freebies, in exchange for promotion, as the restaurant emerged from a month of "zero income".
There was White Night In, a virtual event where influencers - seemingly oblivious to the heaving masses worldwide protesting systemic racism under the Black Lives Matter banner - dressed in white satin pyjamas to promote Colgate toothpaste.
And then, this week, came the Advertising Standards Authority decision upholding four complaints that weight-loss influencer Simone Anderson had posted advertising content on her Instagram - but not labelled it as such. A further accusation, that Anderson failed to provide proof she donated proceeds from on-selling gifted clothing to charity, is still to be considered.
All earned publicity of the wrong kind and added to a growing sense of unease - and sometimes outright hostility - about the business of influencing.
When the goal is to seamlessly mesh real life with products businesses want sold, discerning what's real, and what's not, isn't always straightforward.
Washing basket blues,
Have you heard the one about the bright green washing basket? Okay, there hasn't actually been a scandal about a bright green washing basket.
And yet some might look at that washing basket, perched slightly askew behind the smiling face of Milo Green on a recent Instagram post by the 9-month-old's Bachelor star-turned-social media influencer mum Matilda Green and wonder what message exactly is Green trying to get across?
"Good morning tiny one," Green gushes in the caption for the June 18 post.
"Also must remember to get myself a less offensive washing basket."
The comment by Green, who rose to fame after she was chosen by Art Green in the first The Bachelor NZ series - the pair later married - was met with support, but also some bemusement, by some of her 171,000 followers.
"Why is your washing basket offensive," asks one, after complimenting Green on her "beautiful" baby and "cute" dog.
"I didn't even notice the basket until you mentioned it," writes another.
Green doesn't answer, but in response to an earlier question the 32-year-old says she "kinda can't handle the fluoro".
Another follower suggests, and tags, Blackbird Goods - the boutique Napier homeware brand sells cane washing baskets for $79.
"@arna_searle so glad you love yours!" Blackbird Goods responds.
"@matootles give us a bell if you need one!"
The Herald asked Green why she mentioned the washing basket in her post, and if any business had sent a free washing basket as a result.
A representative for the social media star responded to say there was "nothing more to the post than meets the eye".
"Furthermore, Matilda is always very stringent in her labelling of sponsored content."
'You're commercialising off deaths'
Case, seemingly, closed.
And yet is it any wonder directing attention toward a standard household item, in the background no less, of a photo showing your baby's beaming smile might raise a suspicious eyebrow?
Instagram, the natural home of the influencer, launched in 2010 and now has a billion monthly active users, more than 1.5 million of them in New Zealand. Although less popular with the young set, social media behemoth Facebook is no slouch either, with 2.6 billion monthly active users worldwide.
The influencer industry followed about five years later, when major companies began channelling a significant proportion of their advertising to influencers, snubbing traditional and expensive magazine and TV ad campaigns for posts on the peer-to-peer photo-sharing network.
Some Kiwi Instagram stars, such as All Black Beauden Barrett and Riverdale star KJ Apa, 582,000 and 18.3m followers respectively, are best known for their talents far beyond the gram.
Others, such as beauty vlogger Shannon Harris - Shaaanxo, 1.4m followers - got their starts as fitness, beauty, fashion, food or travel bloggers, capitalising as their followings grew.
But while they have thousands of fans - and can be paid up to $50,000 for one-off posts depending on reach - the freedom of the internet means none are immune to the occasional jab from the public.
It might be taking part in a campaign, such as the ill-conceived White Night In, or posting about a product in a way that jars with a public now wise to social media being used as a place for ads-disguised-as-real-life.
"Just picked up lunch from @tankjuicenz and didn't even have to queue up!" Barrett once wrote under a post extolling the "epic" new app of Tank - for which he became an ambassador in 2016.
"Didn't queue up because his name is Beauden Barrett best 10 in the world and/or sponsored by Tank perhaps", snarked one follower, correctly - paid partnership with tankjuicenz was written below the rugby star's name.
That snark came from one, but is it the feeling of many?
With a string of recent influencer flameouts in recent years - other high-profile fails include Max Key's former girlfriend and BossBabes reality TV show alumni Amelia Finlayson posting a selfie to her 22,000 Instagram followers in February, where she covers her nose and mouth because she is close to a coughing person she labels "Chinese".
Both Anderson, for sharing a Postie+ tagged selfie of her outfit on the day of the Christchurch terror attack, and blogger Lucy Revill, accused by fervent influencer-slayer Pebbles Hooper of "commercialising off deaths" - when she offered after the attack to donate half her profits from ads - have landed in trouble.
And overseas some influencers have burned bridges with brands after selling freebies, including from US makeup giant Anastasia Beverly Hills (ABH).
The audacious crimes against beauty sparked an emotional tweet from ABH president Claudia Soare.
"So let down by some people selling the Alyssa Pr Box and/or the entire Pr Kit. It just makes me upset with myself for adding them."
The influencers of 1963
So is the tide turning on the business of influencing?
'Fraid not, University of Auckland senior lecturer in marketing Bodo Lang says.
Firstly, because there are always people who do the wrong thing - intentionally or not - in many parts of life.
The recent clunkers might be a bump in the road. But the journey goes on.
"It's like any endeavour. There's always someone speeding, there's always someone who forgets to put on their seat belt. We are not machines."
Secondly, because influencing isn't, despite appearances, the bright young thing it appears to be.
It's actually so last century. So last mid-century even.
"We think this is really new stuff", Lang says.
"But social influencing has been around for a really long time."
One of the earliest examples was a successful 1963 campaign by Chrysler where 5000 taxi drivers across 67 cities were incentivised to talk up the US carmaker's new Plymouth line.
Mystery passengers were then paid US$5 (NZ$64 today) whenever they heard a taxi driver talk about the vehicle, Lang says.
"We all look at this stuff these days like it's all new, but there's lots of evidence of this going on before the internet."
Post-internet, but pre-Instagram too.
Anyone with a few decades under their belt shaking their heads at the easily swayed young might look back upon the Hanover Finance ads voiced by former One News presenter Richard Long - before Hanover's collapse left thousands of mum-and-dad investors out of pocket.
Those ads, which included sponsored slots just before the weather on TVNZ's flagship One News, had a hefty reach.
But the gram can, for some influencers, challenge it.
That's the modern influencer's power, Lang says.
"The big downside of influencers before the internet was reach."
Now they had that, in some cases in the millions. And they had an advantage over traditional advertising, because if a person had made a decision to follow someone's social media, they were already engaged, Lang says.
It was a power that could backfire - White Night In was the most recent tone-deaf example - and shows followers the influencers they admire sometimes lead lives very unlike their own.
"People who live in mono-racial suburbs, have mono-racial friends and workplaces, it wouldn't even be on their radar [that White Night In was a bad idea]. Some wouldn't have even thought about it.
"For them, [racism] is just not an issue."
'There's just no authenticity'
Ignorance of another kind is what prompted Amanda McConchie to start her company, The Business of Influence, after becoming frustrated with "dirty tactics around misleading engagement".
She works directly with influencers, brands and businesses to educate them about brand awareness and copyright.
A lot of influencers had "fallen into it" and didn't understand etiquette, their responsibilities or the need to be authentic.
"People want to get on the Black Lives Matter movement, almost because they think that's what their followers want them to do."
Others landed, as Anderson had this week, in trouble failing to properly disclose.
The use of the hashtag #sp - oft spotted on influencer posts - also sparked an Advertising Standards Authority complaint about Art Green earlier this year, after a complaint was made about the former Bachelor New Zealand holding a Heineken beer bottle and nominating his friends.
The hashtag #sp didn't clearly indicate the content was a paid-for celebrity endorsement, the complainant told the authority. The ad was removed by advertiser DB Breweries.
Meanwhile, many small businesses - often targeted by micro-influencers for freebies - have become "really anti" influencer, reacting to saturation posts by the "the same group of people pushing the same products", McConchie says.
"There's just no authenticity."
She's more interested in working with influencers who already had both a presence online "and a genuine voice", perhaps through a blog, before they began working with brands.
And businesses would be best to work with a small number and build from there, making sure each influencer has a good understanding of the product and what's expected of them.
She's not a fan of the "scattergun" approach of sending freebies far and wide, and recruiting many.
"There's definitely a group of those influencers who do it well. Unfortunately, there's more that do it really badly."
She keeps tabs on about 400 or 500 Kiwi influencers - roughly half of the total number in New Zealand - but influencers drop off every day, McConchie says.
And while she's not shy about sharing her frustrations, she also doesn't see influencers going anywhere.
People still want to know two big things.
"Who's wearing what and who's doing what."
Niche influencing the way of the future
It's an uncertain, Covid-19 world and that affects everyone - including influencers.
More economically conscious consumers could mean the rise of the micro-influencers, University of Auckland PhD student Stacey Mulholland says.
Micro-influencers tend to be niche, and studies have found people are more forgiving of advertising when the brands interest them.
And money doesn't even have to come into it, Mulholland, who is studying the influencer industry for her PhD, says.
"Someone who blogs about their job - they might think about themselves as an influencer. An influencer is just a third party endorser who posts on social media about a company or product. You don't have to be paid to be an influencer."
LinkedIn is a good example - professionals such as lawyers have taken to blogging on the site, and that flows on to the reputation of the online résumé and networking platform.
"I keep hearing more chat about it being a professional vibe."
Niche influencing also makes it easier to remain authentic, rather than "accepting every brand".
Saturation rates also need to be considered, otherwise every time an influencer talks about a brand or product - influencing or not - the public casts a suspicious eye.
A bit like that bright green washing basket.
Mulholland knows a bit about people's feelings towards the influencer industry - every time she tells someone her field of study she cops an earful.
A lot love to say influencers are on the way out post Covid-19, because of the economic impact.
But that's wishful thinking, she says.
"There seems to be this idea that eventually influencers are going to go away. It's more likely people are going to be more selective in terms of influencers they follow or buy products from.
"As long as there is social media there's going to be influencers. Because it works."
The shampoo and conditioner club with the 1100 per cent markup
Private companies aren't too keen on divulging commercially sensitive details around marketing campaigns.
Seventeen government departments spent $8 million on influencer advertising since 2012, although the bulk of spending was from Tourism New Zealand, Newshub reported last year.
A Herald official information act request last year of government departments' advertising spending showed an increase in Facebook advertising, both directly and through the use of influencers.
The Ministry of Social Development spent $27,000 on Facebook in 2018, up from just $2000 two years earlier. The ministry also spent $1600 on Instagram, for the first time.
Corrections had an even larger Facebook jump, going from a $1200 spend on the platform in 2015/16 to $200,000 two years later.
Stats New Zealand made payments of $46,000 to influencers, including Art Green and All Black Jordie Barrett, as part of the 2018 Census campaign, who made approximately 18 posts across Facebook and Instagram in a bid to raise awareness with 18 to 24-year-olds.
The campaign had an estimated reach of 482,000, Statistics New Zealand told the Herald, but - like other government departments - didn't provide requested analysis of whether the move was successful or not.
However, in August last year Stats NZ chief executive Liz MacPherson resigned following the worst public response to a Census in decades - an overall response rate of 83.3 per cent.
For people aged 15 to 29, the figures were even more damning - just 75 per cent took part, down from 88.5 per cent in 2013.
Anecdotally, we all know influencers who have landed squarely in the sights of young people.
Perhaps just not over civic matters.
A colleague tells of her young daughter's sudden interest in bespoke - and eye-wateringly expensive - hair care.
The 12-year-old asked to join a Function of Beauty shampoo and conditioner club where a pair of the 473ml bottles - embossed with the buyer's name and expelling product that matches the colours of their bathroom - cost $99.
The reason for the sudden interest in products with an 1100 per cent mark up on supermarket prices? An influencer had posted about them, the pre-teen's mum - who turned down her daughter's request - says.
Yet others among us remain beyond the reach of the well-connected and glamorous, and are likely to stay that way.
A friend - male, mid-40s - says he's never hit purchase because of the musings of an influencer, and never will.
"Someone pouting at a camera, next to a shoe? I just don't give a s***."