Wild Story: Influencer's Viral "Surprise" Engagement Scavenger Hunt Was Staged To Sell Advertisements

Ready to hate millennials even MORE?! Meet Instagram influencer Marissa Casey Fuchs, who goes by @fashionambitionist.

The fashion influencer has 181,000 followers on Instagram. Over this past week, she has gained some “fame” for the “most viral proposal” in Internet history:

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It’s every little girls dream. Grow up to be a fashion influencer and get proposed to on a viral level by a NYC banker. That’s a modern day Disney movie. However, it turns out, this entire thing was staged for advertisers.

SOURCE-“I have the most important question of my life to ask you,” he says. “The problem is, we’re not really into traditional weddings. It’s not really our style.” But, he adds, he figured out how to provide “something to experience, enjoy, and, you know, capture for the ’gram so we know it happened.” The video had originally come from Grossman’s feed, and when Fuchs reposted it to her own, she added a caption: “WHAT IS HAPPENING?!”

It all started  with this Instagram video:

Marissa was very surprised:

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As she broke down into tears she said, “shut the fuck up, what is he doing?”

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Because Marissa and her Morgan Stanley VP boyfriend aren’t a “normal” couple, the proposal was actually a scavenger hunt. Which took Marissa to a cycle bar, where her friends surprised her at. This was the first time Marissa cried:

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Later in the day she cried again:

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Next up was a trip to Montauk in The Hamptons:

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While there she searched for three jewels. This led her to a trip to the famous steakhouse Prime 112 in Miami:

That Instagram was posted four hours ago. Marissa is still “looking” for Gabriel. Why do I put quotes around looking? Well, this whole thing was shockingly staged. Marissa knows where she is going, when she is going and has known for a while.

The 48 hours since have been a whirlwind, as Fuchs embarked on a scavenger hunt, orchestrated by Grossman, that took her from New York City to Montauk to Miami to Paris. Along the way, she has collected two diamond-and-gold necklaces (which, fans can see from the packaging, came from the brand Jade Trau) and documented her every move on Instagram.

Between her posts, Fuchs has peppered in commentary from her fans to build excitement. “There’s a surprise engagement wedding (no one really knows right now) happening on @fashionambitionist Stories this Tuesday and I am completely invested in it!” reads a post she shared from one Instagram user, @geneelizabeth908.

But as fans waited eagerly for each new surprise, brand marketers couldn’t believe it was all going to plan. Many knew exactly how the proposal would play out, hour by hour. They knew the couple’s engagement hashtag. They knew what hotels Fuchs would be staying at, where she would eat, and when she’d post to her feed. They had seen it all before, in a pitch deck. The viral proposal appears to be a meticulously planned marketing stunt.

So, you’re telling me, that this Instagram “influencer” used her proposal as a moment to gain money AND more followers? No. That’s not possible.

Before the proposal scavenger hunt ever kicked off, marketers at various brands and agencies had received a PDF outlining the future engagement in the context of a potential sponsorship. The multiday stunt would be “a one-of-a-kind proposal experience for a one-of-a-kind female ambitionist,” the deck, which was obtained by The Atlantic, reads. “This summer, Marissa of @FashionAmbitionist will be pulled into a surprise adventure created by the center of her life, Gabriel. He will remotely ask her to take an unexpected and sentimental journey to him, a journey that will encompassing [sic] many familiar stops along the way that offer their own unique gifts … We’re pleased to offer your brand the opportunity to align with this momentous occasion and the beautiful cities she will be visiting along the way.”

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Well then.

Most important, the deck also contains an itinerary detailing how the proposal will proceed, including when and what Fuchs will post. “Video Announcement *IG Journey Long-Form Video Kick-Off Post*,” reads the description for Tuesday morning, and Fuchs delivered.


But if the deck is simply a plan, it’s a weird one. The PDF not only is expertly designed, but also directly solicits brand partnerships and was sent to marketers under the guise of a possible sponsorship.

I could go all old man yells at clouds, but if we are being honest here, this is kind of brilliant. Plus, it worked.

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Just a brilliant display of marketing. It had never been done before. However, where they fell short, is sharing it with too many people. Now, halfway through the world scavenger hunt tour, the entire proposal scam has been EXPOSED.

Now, what do we do with Mr. Investment Banker Gabriel? Do we respect him for this? I guess? I can only imagine the shit he is going to get when he goes back to work. From what I know about bankers, especially in NYC, it’s a fraternity where you will be chirped nonstop. There are probably people working at Morgan Stanley reading this blog right now in the middle of plotting a brilliant plot to embarrass Gabriel. Does he deserve it? Yeah. I would say so. If your friends don’t make fun of you for this, you need new friends.