A peek inside the #spon #ad sausage factory

A real influencer solicitation email, plus: a thrilling 3500 calories/day Grubstreet diet, a depressing 350 calories/day NYTimes breakfast; double dynamic progression. This is Link Letter 83!

A peek inside the #spon #ad sausage factory

If you’ve ever seen an influencer who you love suddenly doing posts hawking products: Here’s a little peek at how the branded-content sausage is made.

While I never do these kinds of things, that doesn’t stop people from emailing me asking me to do them.[^1] A couple weeks ago, I got a solicitation, unsolicited, from a marketing company that wanted me to pitch myself for a branded content campaign for a very famous but now somewhat disgraced subscription-based exercise equipment company.

As a spectator of branded content, I’m fascinated most by this part: “[Company] is looking for people who either have a: [Product 1 or Product 2] OR are a current [Company] App user… the clients are looking for people who have hands-on experience with their products prior to promoting for authenticity.” (Emphasis mine.) I’m also fascinated by the exclusivity requirement, where anyone who gets this business is not allowed to even mention a certain group of competitors for three whole months following the campaign for Unnamed Exercise Equipment Company.

What would have made this really salacious was any kind of budget. Unfortunately, the marketing firm didn’t include one, and instead asked for my rate.

According to social media marketing company Later, as a “micro-influencer,” I could charge somewhere between $200 and $1,000 per reel. According to Influencer Marketing Hub, I could charge between $180 and $280 per Instagram post.

I responded to the email and said I knew how to use the app (technically probably hypothetically true) and said I’d do it for $75 per reel (not on my life, but they don’t need to know that). Given how long it takes to make a reel, this would have worked out to about minimum wage. I didn’t hear back.

But what kind of posts, from which kind of influencers, will we be seeing percolate on Instagram for a certain Unnamed Exercise Equipment Company, come 5/18/2023 to 6/25/2023? Only time will tell. You know you love me, xoxo

If you know more about this, don't hesitate to email tips@shesabeast.co.


~Discord Pick of the Week: This video on “double dynamic progression.” To me this is just “building volume with reps when you aren’t ready to add weight.” But it’s an approach to continuing to get stronger that you should know about, particularly if you get mentally blocked about adding weight, or are stuck at a plateau.~

I’m thrilled and delighted by former Bachelor Matt James’s Grub Street diary, where he works to keep up his 3,500-calorie-a-day intake for marathon training, because he’s “not trying to lose weight.” (It is the rare Grub Street Diet installment where the person does not have an uncomfortably disordered relationship with food.) However, I must condemn his recovery shake with prejudice: “Vita Coco, chocolate almond milk, Happy Viking pina colada plant-based protein, dymatize Fruity Pebbles isolate protein, and creamy peanut butter. I know it sounds like a lot, but it tastes delicious.” This combination is against god.


On Victoria Browne's podcast above, one woman tells her story of how she lost all the weight she could and never found the love and light  promised in the marketing, but powerlifting allowed her to see herself in a different way.

Dr. Judith Herman, the author of Trauma and Recovery and counterpart to Bessel van der Kolk and The Body Keeps the Score, who you’ve probably never heard of.

Bhad Babie made 70 million dollars on OnlyFans. Good for her. Hi Bich still goes.


Not the New York Times telling people to eat only 350 calories for breakfast.

I went to Erewhon for the first time the other day, and it was barely even worth the novelty of going once, let alone working 3 jobs to afford grocery shopping regularly there (as if that’s a normal thing to do). I’m possessed now of a fantasy of furtively going into the store, standing right in the middle, whipping open a trench coat to reveal a blueberry muffin made with regular wheat-gluten flour strapped to my chest, and watching the shoppers and store attendants run screaming for the Hollywood Hills.


The breakdown of the economics of Succession that I didn’t know I was actually desperate for, complete with best-effort blurry screenshots of stock prices and printed-paper buyout offers. How much is Waystar Royco supposedly worth? Who is actually on the board, and who can actually vote? How much money/net worth do all the kids have? Even if it’s a lot, can Connor really afford that apartment?

Missed this piece on the origin of 4/20, but it rules: “They began occupying their time with adventures called ‘safaris’…There were two rules to safaris: They had to go somewhere new, and participants had to be stoned.”

I’ve been loving Mythical Kitchen’s “Last Meals” series.

The concept of the 15-minute city (school, work, shopping, all within a 15-minute walk or bike ride): It’s possible.

The New Yorker trying to convince me not to eat the rich. Nice try!

That’s all for this week! I love you for reading, thank you, let’s go—

[F1] The company included in the email here may not have actually had any hand in creating the email itself. One way a marketing or PR firm might work is to cast a wide net for influencers and make them state their rates, and then present those names and that attractively low campaign budget to the company in hopes of getting their business; all the company has to do is say yes! But the fact that the firm emailing me seems to have knowledge of an upcoming product push, as well as timing, as well as the company’s competitors, suggests they’re not doing this totally unbeknownst to Unnamed Exercise Equipment Company. It's also worth noting this isn't the only way influencers get business; many send their own pitches, have agents and management, etc.