Here’s What Really Goes Into Those ‘Flat Tummy Tea’ Instagram Posts

It’s no secret that some people can make big bucks on Instagram just by building a following, but it’s easy to forget the reality when we’re looking at perfectly curated images of someone else’s life. It’s not even just celebs who make money by trying to sell their followers on a glamorized version of their life, everyday people who happen to be beautiful and have an eye for aesthetics can build a brand as an “influencer” and command tens of thousands of dollars for a single post.

Here’s an email one influencer tweeted in which she was offered $11,850 (along with a commission) by one brand for a single post:

The whole thing seems even slimier when influencers simply copy and paste the instructions they get from the product’s marketing team, accidentally making it transparent that the whole things is very, very staged. Here’s a D list celebrity from MTV’s Teen Mom 3 who left the staging instructions on her Instagram post:

Mackenzie McKee’s Instagram

The instructions read:

“Style: Be wearing active wear, have your tummy out and be facing square onto the camera. Now bend your knees a little babe (kind of like your mid shakin it!), shove the shakes box out front and be beaming at the camera with an expression that screams “OMG It’s finally here!!!)! We want the pic to look and feel like you’ve just been snapped in the middle of your shake it baby tummy wiggle!

Caption: #ad Girls! It’s actually here! @flattummyco JUST launched their Shake it Baby program, and I can’t wait to start shaking my booty off (and tummy!) this month! This stuff is going to be a lifesaver, it’s clinically proven to be 3 x more effective than diet and exercise alone, so I know I’m going to actually see some REAL results! Want to shake these extra few pounds with me? You’re in luck girls, it just dropped so you get it too 🙌 Check it out at”

For comparison, here’s another post by Mackenzie in which she didn’t forget to delete the instructions from the company:

McKenzie McKee’s Instagram

The caption is written in the same voice, only this time we aren’t made aware that this isn’t McKenzie’s effervescent love for the product bubbling through, the whole thing is written by the product’s marketing team and copy/pasted by McKenzie into her Instagram. Considering the entire idea of a ‘detox’ has been throughly debunked, it’s insane to think how these people are making a living off of something so fake.

It’s also worth noting that Mackenzie bills herself as a personal trainer, something her followers might mistake for expertise when it comes to whether “flat tummy” teas and detoxes are effective.

The next time you look at a perfectly sculpted human being smiling at you over a vat of flat tummy tea or a weight loss smoothie remember how much money goes into marketing this image to you, and whether a product that really worked would need so many theatrics. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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