We’ve all got bills to pay—even if we’re minor-to-moderate celebrities. So what’s a reality star or child actor to do when the show doesn’t get picked up for a fourth season or when (more likely) their opulent lifestyle has outgrown their bank account?
Luckily for them, it is 2015 and the world of Instagram marketing is ready and waiting. There’s an interesting limbo that awaits the wide swath of celebrities who are no longer famous enough to land an endorsement deal but are still famous enough that a company will pay them money to promote a product on their personal social media. The products that celebrities shill on Instagram are generally coherent with the nature of the medium—i.e. highly narcissistic—and tend to repeat a small range of categories: teeth whitening, weight loss teas, waist shapers.
You’ll immediately notice that the caliber of most of these products is questionable, and that all of these “ads” require a certain love of selfies and correspondent lack of shame.
But one thing’s undeniable: making money this way is pretty easy. Even if you don’t have Instagram, you can do it via the tabloid medium. Mandy Moore, for example, simply has to put on some decent clothes and pretend to go grocery shopping to stay ahead of those mortgage payments. No social media presence required.
Compare that to the caption Snooki included with a post about a protein powder:
Squats make a booty good. @proteinworld Slender Blend makes a booty even better! Toning up with the best nutritional supplements out there :)
We don’t know for sure that Snooki’s being paid for that post, of course. (I mean: she is.) When a celebrity is being paid to use their platform to promote a product, they’re supposed to tag the post #ad or #spon in some way indicate that a transaction has taken place, like with Kelly Ripa here: an actual star with a real endorsement deal, for whom transparency is not a problem.
Sometimes a celebrity’s post will include a discount code for the product they’re promoting. While this isn’t an outright admission that it’s a straight-up advertisement, most people can make that jump.
If I can count on anything I know I can count on my @girlycurves_ waist cincher Every mom can use that extra help😉Thanks @girlycurves_ www.girlycurves.com (They are having a 15% OFF Memorial Day Sale Use Code: Memorial) I gained some weight from my all-inclusive vaca in Mexico because I had a good time drinking and eating a lot like everyone should on vacation but now it’s time to get back on the grind and really work out for a better body and a better self! Even though I’m happy with how I look I want to achieve better results.
Compare that to this post from Hilary Duff with a caption that in no way suggests that she was paid to post an obvious advertisement.
Having a spot of @lyfe_tea(British accent) #healthkick #lyfetea
Maybe she really was given that tea as a gift, and chose to take a picture that prominently featured the product by her own accord. Realistically, however, Hilary Duff is just another player in the wild, shameless world of Instagram promotion, laid out for you below.
We are a UK based, 100% natural health products company that has a desire to promote a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
Cocowhite products originated on the back of a well known practice called Oil Pulling, (see more below) to provide a 100% natural alternative to the chemical fuelled teeth whitening craze.
As you’ll see, our friend Lindsay is quite the prolific Instagram hawker, which is probably the least surprising thing you’ll hear this week. She’s the epitome of the type of celebrity for whom this is a pretty sweet deal. She’s not making any consistent money doing her actual job, you know she could use the cash, and because she no longer has a brand to maintain, shame absolutely does not live here no more.
Scott Disick and Melissa Gorga
Audrina Patridge and Ashley Benson
We can’t see your teeth, Ashley!
Bright White Smile
We have spent numerous months researching other tooth whitening products - with the aim of creating the best value and most effective product that you can find anywhere at any price. We have evaluated hundreds of different products and now are proud to release what we believe is the best tooth whitening system for you to use in the comfort of your own home. We know you’ll be convinced that BrightWhite Smile is the best at-home whitening product.
Somebody please explain the word “variety” to this man.
Blac Chyna clearly knows how her bread and butter is earned.
Express Smile Atlanta
Express Smile Atlanta is a professional teeth whitening business and can improve your smile by 3 to 10 shades giving you a whiter, brighter smile!
Monica Brown and Jussie Smollett
Almost every single Real Housewife of Atlanta:
(Clockwise) Cynthia Bailey, Porsha Williams, Phaedra Parks and Kandi Burruss
Basically every cast member from the Love and Hip Hop franchise:
(Clockwise) Young Joc, Nikki Mudarris, Rasheeda Frost, Mimi Faust, Soulja Boy and Ariane Davis
Nick Cannon is our first appearance of: “People I didn’t think had to do shit like this.” Clearly spousal support was not in Mariah’s prenup.
Christina Milian and Khloé Kardashian
Lilly Ghalichi appeared on two seasons of Bravo’s Shahs of Sunset. Lilly Ghalichi seems to have a lot of time on her hands.
Mr Blanc is a natural and peroxide free teeth-whitening product that if used correctly, will get your teeth looking and feeling whiter in 14 days.
Adrienne Bailon and Lilly Ghalichi
My favorite part of all this is when someone promotes two different products that are obviously competitors. C’mon, Lilly—are you an Express Smile Atlanta girl or a Mr. Blanc customer? Pick a lane!
Considering Stephanie Pratt a celebrity is definitely a reach. However, Mr. Blanc’s marketing team does not seem to share my skepticism, and perhaps the most shocking thing I found during my “research” was the number of people willing to give Stephanie Pratt money for an endorsement.
MateFit’s goal is to bring you the healthiest and most natural supplements available. Our tea is combined with a large variety of different fresh herbs and spices to create a potent mix that can assists you on the path to a healthy body.
Filed under: “People I didn’t think had to do shit like this.”
Also filed under “People I didn’t think had to do shit like this.”
Fit Tea is a loose leaf Fit Yea, that contains a powerful blend of: Organic Green Tea, Oolong Wu Yi, Organic Rooibos, Ginger, Pomegranate, Guarana, Birch, Stevia, corn and Honey Powder. You will be amazed at not only how WELL Fit Tea will work for you, but just how amazing and splendid it tastes!
Curiously, Kylie Jenner like a few other celebrities here, has deleted this picture from her Instagram. Whether the deal included an agreed-upon time limit for the post or if she just realized that this is all a bit gauche, I’ll never know—but my money ain’t on the latter.
Vanessa Hudgens and Christina Milian
With her sister-in-law Teresa Guidice currently serving time for being an overspending liar, I can’t even blame Melissa for this hustle.
Vinny Guadagnino and Tyler Posey
Scott Disick and Vanessa Simmons
Here’s the thing, say what you will about Coco, but homegirl is at least having a bit of fun with all this.
Made from a purely natural organic herbal blend, Slendertoxtea is a Teatox designed to detoxify and cleanse, increase metabolism,suppress your appetite, burn calories and increase energy.Together with a healthy eating plan and lifestyle, join the Slendertoxtea movement today.We hope you are as thrilled with it as we are!
Porsha Williams and Gretchen Rossi
Lisa Vanderpump and Heidi Montag
Lisa Vanderpump is one of the few Real Housewives with real, serious money. I would love to know why she feels the need to shill detox tea on social media, but I think the answer would just make me sad.
Welcome to our TeaMi family, where your health and wellness are our main goal. Health begins with what you “put in”. That is why we made sure that what we “put in” our tea is of the highest quality and purest form. There are thousands of recorded tea plant species around the world. How many exist exactly? That is like asking how many stars light up the night sky- far too many to count. So what did we do? We analyzed them, ate them, drank them and blended them in every combination possible until we found the perfect formulas to give you the most effective, organic, tasty tea!
The aim of Bootea is to give you the boost you need to get back on track with your healthy eating and active lifestyle. The ingredients used in our teas have been used for centuries for health and wellbeing purposes but it is only now we have finally brought all these unique ingredients into one perfect, rounded product. Teatox is a fancy word we use to describe the way the body goes through a natural process of elimination, by removing unwanted ‘toxins’ & built up waste matter, from your body via the lungs, kidneys, bowels and skin.
Shemar Moore and Irina Shayk
Ashley Tisdale and Scott Disick
Good marketing is all about a consistent duckface.
Jonathan Cheban and Audrina Patridge
I’ve stopped asking “HOW?” and “Why the hell?” with this one.
Lyfe Tea is a company with the concept of letting you be the most beautiful you ever. We want you to feel fabulous! It is our goal to help our customers to live a healthy life by creating a healthy lifestyle. Our products are designed with the richest ingredients that are filled with important body builders that help to eliminate fat while improving one’s overall body function. Our teas are rich in antioxidants. They help one’s ability to focus while aiding with physical endurance. While the tea will help in controlling one’s weight it will also aid in circulatory function. It will ultimately rid the body of wasteful toxins while rejuvenating its cellular structure.
This is the second detox tea that Lindsay promotes.
Filed under: “People I didn’t think had to do shit like this.” I think it’s worth noting that Paris does not promote detox tea on Instagram.
Holly Madison and Lilly Ghalichi
Doesn’t she look kind of irritated to be doing this?
Mimi Faust and Draya Michele
Christina Milian and Audrina Patridge
Kim does have like six kids, so I guess those mouths have to be fed somehow.
310 Nutrition is a top emergent brand when it comes to meal replacement shakes and weight loss supplements! As a Southern California-born company, situated close to the beach, 310 knows how important it is to look and feel good in your body. That is why we want to help you reach your goals.
Kim is a 310 Nutriton superstar. They must be paying her a (relative) bucketload of money because the frequency with which she posts about these shakes is absurd.
JWoww, I must assume, owns equity in this company because good lord that’s a lot of posts.
There she is.
Alexis Ballino and Gretchen Rossi
Boris Kodjoe and Joanna Krupa
We’re leading the protein revolution with a new and innovative range of pure, GMO free supplements to help you become healthier, leaner, fitter and stronger.
Because it’s hard to afford Coachella on a pretend waitress’ salary.
I wonder if Lilly thought those gym pics looked believable.
We are a UK based, natural health supplements company, committed to delivering lasting results with affordable, healthy solutions to enhance and preserve your natural beauty.
Hairburst believe beautiful, healthy skin and hair starts from within. By using safe, natural ingredients in formulas that are clinically tested and proven, we hope to assist the overall health and wellbeing of our customers by spreading messages and information regarding health and beauty. We often use Instagram to do this.
Hairburst products are not only a great way to kickstart your hair growth journey but can also be added into your existing hair care regime. Begin the journey to the hair you want with an intense mix of natural vitamins & minerals and beging to grow healthy hair from within.
Lilly Ghalichi and Audrina Patridge
Stephanie. Fucking. Pratt.
Hairfinity Hair Vitamins are formulated with essential nutrients for healthy hair growth. Our vitamins nourish your hair from the inside out. See results in the first month.
Nip and Fab
Nip + Fab is a fabulous skincare and body care range founded by Maria Hatzistefanis (founder of Rodial). Designed to deliver targeted treatments for the face and body, our formulas are crammed with innovative and natural advanced skin smoothing, boosting and firming ingredients. Nip + Fab is premium skincare for everyday concerns at everyday prices.
Audrina Patridge and Stephanie Pratt
I think it’s safe to assume that Kylie Jenner is being paid by this company. However, rather interestingly, her contract doesn’t seem to include a clause about her face being present in any of the posts. I bet Kris made that deal.
No Waist Clique
Our Waist Shaper Corsets can instantly give you the appearance of a slim, curvy waist while also training your waist to maintain an hourglass figure all year round.
This is horrifying.
Angela Simmons and Tamar Braxton
Lindsay Lohan and La La
Tameka “Tiny” Cottle-Harris
We are a company that provides an outstanding service distributing shapewear all over the World. We believe in quality and attention to detail. Every garment is designed and manufactured at our Manufacturer headquarter in Colombia using technology, expert sewers and rigorous quality control to produce the finest garments.
Little Tiny Waist
Waist training is a gradual process of waist reduction using our waist training belt. Also known as waist cinching , the practice came to prominence during Victorian times. Wearing a waist cincher, exercise and eating a healthy diet can radically reduce the waistline. It takes dedication, time and patience. Most importantly, you must do it at your own pace.
Waist Gang Society
Waistgangsociety high quality Reshaping waistshaper is a unique latex material which attacks unwanted fat and impurities within your body. Our reshaping line will strengthen your core all the while improving your posture. The thermogenisis created within your body will allow your body to rid itself of harsh toxins and impurities, through perspiration. While wearing a garment or waist trainer , the tight compression will help to reduce food volume intake which will help acheive the healthier practice of smaller meals, more often, rather than three large meals a day.
Kourtney, Kim and Khloé Kardashian
Sister that peddle together don’t have to live under the thumb of their momager forever. Just kidding, of course they do.
Blac Chyna and Cassie
One takeaway: everyone needs to chill.
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All images via Instagram