I’m talking about a decision that tugs at our sense of values and, well, our sense of “self.”
Can you tell I’m procrastinating about revealing my marketing shame while delving into my new “writing career”?
When I was hired in the male-only echelons of a company selling space for billboards (or more politically correct, outdoor advertising), I was told I could also use my writing skills to create copy for those billboards. But my word skills were rarely used, since most of the “big money” billboards for beer and cigarettes came with their own copy from the product conglomerates.
But as I brought in more local business from Mom and Pop stores that wanted to send a short snappy message on that large outdoor space to claim:
Sew Yourself Something Special – Sally’s Sewing Shop, or
Hammer for Hire: Steve’s Hardware, I began to work on copy with the client.
My clients wanted two or three sentences extolling the virtues of their business.
I had to convince them that the less words on a Board,
the more visibility,
the more POP to attract interest,
and the better chance that a passing driver would actually read the words and stop at the shop.
My efforts flourished so well that six months into my new job, the company hired another woman.
Young, attractive, and bright.
Her position? Marketing Copywriter.
I wanted that job, but I never had the chance to apply for it, since I didn’t even know it was available until it was filled. I tamped down my jealously and reveled in the fact that I had a compatriot in the male-dominated company. M and I worked together, writing some fun fast scripts for the candy depot and the dress shop and even for the funky music store 30 miles west of our “metropolis.”
But then, success got to our heads. Or at least into M’s head.
She got the great idea that for me to sell even more outdoor advertising, the company needed to sell…
(Yes, the final mortifying marketing mashup is still to come….)
Do you want to guess how she used me to sell space?