Instagram wannabes posting fake ads, pretending to have sponsorship deals

Instagrammers are posting things crafted to look like ads and sponsored posts, giving the impression they are paid-up influencers when they are not.

A decade ago, shilling products to your fans may have been seen as selling out. Now it’s a sign of success. “People know how much influencers charge now, and that payday is nothing to shake a stick at,” said Alyssa Vingan Klein, the editor in chief of Fashionista, a fashion-news website. “If someone who is 20 years old watching YouTube or Instagram sees these people traveling with brands, promoting brands, I don’t see why they wouldn’t do everything they could to get in on that.”

Of course, getting caught means instahumiliation. But even that has its own weird cred, these days.

Not all just copy-and-paste from real campaigns. It's mesmerizing, the grasp some of them have on the precise visual and textual vocabulary of the "sponsored post", uncannily bridging authenticity and advertising in a way that fools no-one but would satisfy the client. A client who does not exist, in this case—and may even be cease-and-desisting the instagrammer to cut it out.

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