OK, I’m no Don Draper, nor am I Darren Stevens. (Though I don’t have a personal preference between the two Dicks, I guess I have more in common with Sargent than York.) I don’t play an ad guy on TV, I play one in real life.
I get paid to write a variety of different things. Print ads. Brochures. Web banners and sites. And, as of late, TV commercials and radio spots.
Here’s where the poser part comes into play: I don’t listen to the radio because I have an iPod connected in my car. I usually fast forward through commercials thanks to my DVR. And I can’t think of more than a handful of times that I’ve actually clicked on a Web banner. (Now, Web sites are a completely different story. I do visit quite a few sites on a regular basis, and always enjoy exploring not only the content, but how the whole thing is put together from an end user’s POV.)
Sure, there are quite a few commercials that catch my eye. Presently, I love the one for Little Cesar’s Bistro dog food commercial with the big dogs trying to act like little dogs.
In my “I love dogs in TV commercials”, I also love the one from Traveler’s Insurance.
I love the brilliance of the American Express “protection” commercial, especially the image of the shopping bag.
On the radio side, I do love the Kaiser Permanente spots from a couple of years ago. Their TV spots are pretty good, too.
With all of this said, I know my job as an ad writer is to compel people to click, call, visit, or buy. I know the words I commit to paper or pixel (or airwaves) are supposed to help tell a story, sell a product/service, and ultimately, evoke a reaction of some sort.
But when I’m rarely compelled to do the very things I’m asking consumers to do, does that make me more like a paid spokesperson who is hired to schlock a product? Does it make me Brooke Shields who seems to be hocking everything these days? Or more like the guy from the hair club, who isn’t just president, but also a client?
I will confess to being a huge Nissan enthusiast. Not only did I work on their brochures, POS, and Web business, but I’m the proud owner of a Murano, and had a Pathfinder before that. That counts as putting my money where my ad thoughts are, right?
Nissan aside, does my near ad avoidance make me any less credible as an ad guy? I like to think of it as more like I’m someone who just happens to be talented with ideas, and then brings them to life using words and pictures.
I mean, really, I’m not a paid actor. I’m a real person. Trying to make a living in the best way I know how.