Hell doesn’t have anger like a social media mob who thinks they have identified a luxury scam.

So it seemed at least this weekend when a series of TikTok viral videos featuring a $ 825 Chanel Advent calendar and the disappointed customer who bought it went viral, inspiring a multitude of users to consider the brand as a foul to call. Or rather, everywhere on his Instagram page.

In some ways, this is just the latest example of the vigilante justice being exercised against powerful global brands by individuals willing to point out perceived injustice, including cultural appropriation, copying of designs, and other forms of wrongdoing, and of postponing the Power relations between brands and audiences.

But the emotions surrounding this anti-advent calendar campaign were particularly high, in part perhaps because of the associated holidays and the idea that this special gift item does not represent goodwill towards customers, but rather suggests that they are being played for idiots .

Here’s what happened: On December 3rd, Elise Harmon, a tiktoker in California, posted a video of herself Unpack a Chanel advent calendar in the form of Chanel No. 5 bottle.

“Am I crazy?” She asked. “Absolutely. But I’ve never seen a Chanel advent calendar, so let’s see if it’s worth the hype.”

(She had never seen a Chanel advent calendar because there had never been one. This was a special holiday initiative to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Chanel # 5.)

Ms. Harmon gave the calendar a “10 out of 10” for the packaging, but she was upset when she opened a box and saw what they looked like Chanel stickers. On the other hand, she liked a hand cream.

And so the unboxing came to an end eight more posts, in which Ms. Harmon perfumes (good), key rings (less), lipstick and nail polish (mostly good, even if they were also mostly sample size), a mirror (not), a rope bracelet with a CC wax stamp (huh?), a mini -Snow globe made of plastic and… a Chanel dust bag, the bags for shoes or other accessories. It was the dust bag that really upset people.

As of December 6th, the series had been viewed more than 50 million times and each post contained thousands of comments, mostly related to the words “You robbed” or “Who do you think they are?” Lines. To top it off, Ms. Harmon told her followers that she “clogged“By Chanel.

Though Chanel has a TikTok page, it’s inactive and set to private, with no followers, so it was unclear where Ms. Harmon was banned – she didn’t respond to requests for comment – but that didn’t stop her audience from getting in touch Chanel’s Instagram account, who has more than 47 million followers and who posted about the Métiers d’Art fair taking place in Paris on December 7th.

Under every photo of the work of the various specialist studios that Chanel is now sponsoring – including the flower maker Lemarie, the embroidery studio Montex – and advertising clips for the collection film, there are hundreds of comments: “Don’t ignore the inevitable! We want answers! ”And:“ Will the film be financed through the sale of Advent calendars? ”

On Monday, four days after Ms. Harmon’s original video, the action was still going strong – and her followers grew in number. (A similar There have been backlashes in Chinawhere one blogger also labeled the brand’s advent calendar as not worth the money.)

Chanel has not publicly addressed the issue, but Gregoire Audidier, director of strategy for international communications and customer experience at Chanel Fragrance and Beauty, wrote in an email: “The recent claim that a person was blocked by Chanel on TikTok is inaccurate. We have never blocked anyone’s access to the Chanel TikTok page as it is not an active account and has never posted any content. We commit to sharing our creations with our followers on all social networks in which we are active. Our pages are open to everyone and our followers can express their feelings and opinions, regardless of whether they are enthusiastic or critical. “

By the way, Chanel is not the only luxury brand that offers an expensive beauty advent calendar, although it is the most expensive. In fact, it’s late for the game that started about a decade ago.

There are now an abundance of such limited-edition Christmas calendars, including those from La Mer, Guerlain and L’Occitane. Dior ($ 550), Armani ($ 310) and Saint Laurent ($ 300) also have Beauty Advent Calendars. Neither of them are cheap, and most come with a mix of beauty samples – the mini versions of products that often come free with purchase – and full-size or limited-edition offers.

And the beauty versions are just the latest version of advent calendars, invented in the mid-19th century in Germany to teach children catechism and spirituality have been commercialized over the years. Even the Nazis created their own form of propaganda.

(The most expensive advent calendar on the market is probably the new one $ 150,000 Tiffany version, a three-foot cabinet with a reproduction of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s painting from Tiffany’s new “Equals Pi” advertising campaign on the front and 24 gifts inside.)

Why did the Chanel version get people so excited? After all, luxury brands have never shied away from their customers buying, in large part, the brand value themselves. A dust bag with “Chanel” on it is worth more than a dust bag without it.

In addition, Chanel has the entire content of the calendar available on its website, so it is no secret what everyone is getting for their money. It is not apparent that their offerings are any more flimsy than that of other brands.

But because it was new and because it cost so much and because it was Chanel, with all the mythology built into the name, the stakes and expectations could have been higher. And the feeling of betrayal when those expectations were not met was greater – and the desire to respond publicly was irresistible.

Those who benefit from perception can also lose as a result. What Mrs. Harmon opened wasn’t just a new mini perfume. It was a new reality, now completely out of the box.

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