Editor’s Note: The following article is adapted from COVER/LINE, a free newsletter about politics and pop culture. You can subscribe here.
Former Republican vice presidential nominee and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin shared a photo of a “skinny tea” along with a discount code for 15% off for the brand to her more than 25,000 Instagram followers Wednesday.
Palin wrote in her caption, “As a busy 🏒mom I need all the energy I can get, but coffee makes me crash mid-day and I dread feeling sluggish (and sometimes not so super kid-friendly!). After visiting Bristol recently, she raved about the @teamiblends skinny tea that she swears by and has been using forever, so I gave the teas a shot - Amazing! My new coffee replacement for a few weeks now! I travel a lot, plus we do so many outdoor activities requiring lots of energy - the teas help and actually let me keep up with Trig 🏃 It’s easy to take the tea everywhere after filling up my tumbler in the morning. So easy! No need to add sugar because it’s so good 😘 You can use code PALIN for 15% off your order! #thankyouteami”
Teami lists an address in Seminole, Florida, on its website. Other influencers that have posted about the company’s products include Haley Dillon who has more than 28,000 followers and is the wife of NASCAR driver Ty Dillon; Camelia Katoozian, a beauty blogger with 320,000 followers; and Jessica Carroll, a contestant on Season 22 of “The Bachelor” with nearly 21,000 followers.
The Federal Trade Commission requires influencers to disclose their relationship to a brand if they endorse or promote it on social media. This is often seen with the hashtag #ad, #spon, or #sponsored in the caption, which Palin did not include in hers.
Carly Halvin, social media manager for Teami, wrote in an email, “Sarah Palin has been a customer of our brand since 2016. Her and her family all use and love Teami Blends. We are very lucky that she chose to share her Teami experience with her audience.”
Halvin did not answer a question about whether Palin was paid for the post.
Palin did not respond through her website.
Palin’s daughter Bristol, who has 145,000 followers, has posted about Teami seven times so far this year and has included similar language in her captions, offering a 15% discount with the code BRIS15 and also using the hashtag #thankyouteami.
Posting about products on Instagram can be lucrative for users with large followings, and fitness tea is among the most popular products hawked. Influencers who talked to BuzzFeed for a March story said it’s typical to make about 1% of their follower count per post. Using that estimate, if Palin’s post is indeed sponsored, she could have made about $250 for it.
Palin is a newbie to Instagram, posting for the first time in October 2017. Her social media following, which includes 1.51 million followers on Twitter and more than 4.8 million followers on Facebook, largely posts links to conservative content, including articles on a blog on her personal site. She also posted the Teami photo on her Facebook, editing it a minute after it was posted to add an “-SP” after the paragraph explaining how she uses the product, indicating she wrote it and not someone on her behalf. It also includes the 15%-off discount code.