As American malls have fallen into rapid decline, Instagram has become the algorithm-driven center of stylish capitalism, serving customized ads meant to lure users into virtual shops in much like window displays of yore. And in the place of “brand ambassadors” like the early aughts cool kids who worked at Abercrombie or the less-cool kids who worked at Hollister, we now have “influencers,” paid to love products for the duration of an Instagram post.
But influencing often makes strange bedfellows. Take, for instance, the partnership between childless Canadian lesbian travel bloggers Allie + Sam and Fairfax Cryobank, which sells donor sperm out of Pasadena, California. The traveling influencers, who normally tout products like bras and raw dog food, have partnered with the cryobank for a sperm raffle of sorts, wherein one lucky entrant will win a single vial of the spunk of their choosing. The offer also includes shipping costs, which is most likely considerable, given the imperative for freshness. What sperm donation has to do with travel influencing is anyone’s guess, but top-quality donor sperm from a reputable establishment does not come cheap, and free is free—even if one stumbled upon the genetic material to create a child via paid social media partnership.
But the real point of any raffle, like the one at my hometown mall for a late-model Chevrolet that seemed to last the entirety of my childhood, is to drive potential customers into the awareness stage of the purchase funnel, a stage I can say I have fully entered in conjunction with Fairfax Cryobank. While I am not currently in the market for any donor sperm, I have now fully perused the business’s virtual showroom via Instagram and have selected several batches that could be of interest, should I ever move down-funnel to the consideration stage. Good luck to those of you who have cast your lots in the sperm raffle; may your preferred donor’s supply be bountiful.