It’s Official: You’ll Now Be Seeing Ads on Instagram, and Michael Kors Ran The First One

Meghan Blalock

Instagram ads have been a long-discussed inevitability, and now they’ve become a reality. Michael Kors is the first retailer to post one of the ads, which pop up in your stream unannounced and are made to look like typical Instagram posts, with one exception: They’ll pop up whether or not you follow that particular retailer. The ads, however, are targeted; meaning if you follow accounts similar to Michael Kors, you’ll see those ads, and if you follow only food blogs and personalities, you’ll likely only get foodie-targeted ads.

The first ad, shown above, was captioned “5:15. Pampered in Paris. #MKTimeless,” and features a watch which is set to 5:10. (Oops.) To us, this post looks just like a normal Instagram picture, except that it’s a professionally shot photo that hasn’t yet appeared anywhere else, and it prominently features a particular product being hawked.

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But in the fashion world, especially, there is a very fine line between advertising and promotion; many brands already use Instagram as a way to “advertise” their wares to their fan base, without it officially being marked as an ad. Designers clamor to dress some of the most well-followed fashion blogers out there, so that their fan base will see their idols wearing that product and want to get it for themselves. Isn’t that, in itself, a form of advertising?

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What do you think of Instagram ads? Annoying or par for the course in fashion?