A clothing company didn’t get the response it was looking for when it reached out to Ursula K. Le Guin to be a “brand ambassador.”
The Twitter and Instagram accounts of Le Guin posted a message sent to the author by a clothing company PR head named Laura, reading, “We came across your Instagram profile ‘ursulakleguin’, and LOVE your style. We’d love to have you as one of our Brand Ambassadors.” The company offered to send the author a free pair of leggings.
While Le Guin might seem like an obvious choice for a brand ambassador—she’s a famous novelist with a large social media following—she’s also, inconveniently, dead.
Her estate, which manages her social media accounts, posted the unfortunate request, writing, “I don’t think this will work out the way you hope, Laura. Oh social media.”
I don't think this will work out the way you hope, Laura.— Ursula K. Le Guin (@ursulakleguin) December 8, 2020
Oh social media. pic.twitter.com/49m1UWnVzl
Admirers of Le Guin, who died in 2018 at the age of 88, had fun roasting the unnamed company on Twitter.
“Even if it were possible for @UrsulaKLeGuinto come back to life, I doubt she would do it just for a free pair of leggings,” wrote one user.
Another user, inspired by Le Guin’s 1971 fantasy novel The Tombs of Atuan, imagined a different response to the request. “Crouched in the tomb’s darkness and dust, she watched the fire’s last ember die,” he wrote. “The smoke in her nose reminded her of home. She rose, her cloak fell to her feet. A woman stood naked where the girl had died, and put on her Cheata™ print leggings. Promo code DARKNESSISFORTHEGIRLS”
It’s not known if the clothing company approached any other authors with its request. Edith Wharton, Dorothy Parker, and Willa Cather could not be reached for comment.
Michael Schaub is a Texas-based journalist and regular contributor to NPR.