The Art of Advertising You
Intern Rachel talks us through the surprising link between advertising and dating.
It’s fair to say we have all spent the last year feeling pretty sorry for ourselves, right?
It wasn’t until human contact became illegal, that I realised how much we rely on each other to remain sane.
Many a night I found myself gazing up at the sky, trying to remember what it felt like to meet someone new; what it felt like to shake their hand and have a conversation about anything other than how many toilet rolls are in the upstairs cupboard.
I would sit at the window, a damsel in distress, longing for the day I would be rescued by my knight in shining armour. Oh no, wait, that’s just the fish van doing its weekly rounds, never mind.
As we are all aware, the coronavirus pandemic - also coined the loneliness pandemic - has taken its toll on the fun, spontaneous side of life. But that doesn’t mean we have to stop being fun and spontaneous all together, does it?
No, it most definitely does not. If anything, COVID has taught us to grab life by the balls and try new things - no matter how big or small - because there is no way of knowing when the next catastrophically life altering event will happen.
So, for the past year I’ve dabbled in a lot of random nonsense: first was pottery, then I took upcycling for a spin, and then even normal cycling for that matter.
My two most recent endeavours, however, have been the most enlightening of all.
The first is advertising.
The second, dating.
I’m yet to decide which is more daunting, the first day in the office or the first date – in both scenarios all I can think is, “do I hug or handshake?”, “why did I agree to this?” and “what is that smell?”
Before lockdown, I hadn’t thought twice about advertising.
And I definitely never thought twice about dating. It was never something I felt I needed, or wanted, to do. But as the days ticked over and the loneliness crept in, the prospect of emotional intimacy became slowly more enticing.
I quickly realised that the same rules apply to advertising a product as they would to advertising yourself. Our job is to show the consumer who we are, what we have to offer and that whatever we are saying (selling) is worth buying.
For example, if you are one of the 66 million people subscribed to Tinder then you are technically in the business of self-advertising.
Although, it may seem like fun and games over in the advertising world, there is, in fact, a method to the madness.
Don’t ask me what the method is; a magician never reveals their tricks.
But if you’re an industry newbie I will break it down into 4 simple stages for the purposes of this blog.
Advertising is all about standing out from the crowd. Individually, we encounter between 6,000 and 10,000 adverts every single day. So, what makes you unique? How can you stand out in a crowd of 7 billion people?
Technically speaking, you are a limited edition, one time only, special offer. There is no one else on this earth quite like you. Nevertheless, this does not mean that you’re everyone’s golden ticket. Some people just aren’t that into chocolate! And the quicker you come to terms with this the easier your dating life will become. Please bear in mind, it’s nothing personal – unless you’re a racist, homophobe then it probably is personal, and you probably deserve it.
Before I continue, I would like to go over some house rules.
Numero uno; I am not encouraging you to go out and literally sell yourself.
Secondly, please remove all scepticism spectacles, there’s no use for them here - they will only make your life harder.
But if you’re looking for a bit of a laugh, a touch of romance or maybe just a wee flirt to boost the ego, then look no further. As I am about to bestow upon you my greatest wisdom and expertise in the art of selling yourself.
Step 1: planning
Arguably, this is the most vital stage in any ad campaign. Now is the time to do some research, understand the data and come up with a strategy.
Deciphering your target audience is by far the best way in creating the foundations of a solid ad campaign. To help the process run smoother, it’s important to understand who you are selling to. This goes further than just age, gender or location. The deeper the analysis the better the outcome.
In the instance of dating, planning serves the same purpose. It is so important to take the time to figure out what you want and, more importantly, what you don’t want. Take as much time as you need to figure this out and don’t be afraid to be brutal. The most “attractive” people in this world are the ones who know exactly what they want and aren’t scared to go for it.
Be sure, be concise, be you.
What does your imaginary finish line look like? Do you see wedding bells, three kids and a flat in Dunbar? Or do you fancy having a bit of fun, really pissing off God, and maybe even date a few people at the same time?
Whatever your objective may be, having a strategy is always key.
Step 2; get creative.
There is no official way of guaranteeing a date, you just have to open your mind up to possibilities and say “yes” to things you wouldn’t usually give the time of day. Think outside of the box.
Maybe take that yoga class you’ve been meaning to try, volunteer for a charity you are passionate about or even go to that concert you’ve been putting off because no one will go with you.
Don’t be hesitant to do things alone. The best way to combat loneliness is to feel at peace within yourself. “Alone” doesn’t have to be a bad thing, trust me; I tell some of my best jokes when I’m on my own!
Once you start to surround yourself with the things you love, finding connections based on real interest and commonality will become second nature.
Online dating is also an option for those who wish to take a more direct approach.
Tinder could be the one for you, or maybe Bumble or Hinge will take your fancy. If so, be careful. Online dating can take some practice and even then, it very rarely makes perfect.
It can be difficult enough to decipher a person’s height online, never mind their intentions. But it is a good way of syphoning through the riffraff and getting the initial awkward chitchat out of the way.
Whichever route you decided to take,
Now it’s time to take the wheel and step into stage 3, testing.
This part can be unpredictable.
It’s impossible to foresee exactly how your campaign will be received by the consumer. An idea you thought to be ground-breaking could turn out to be the biggest flop of your career. Don’t worry, it gets easier to weed out the flops as time goes on.
It’s hard to tell when you first meet someone how they are going to act.
You may be thinking; will they be nice? Friendly? Obnoxious? Will they pay, or even offer to? I hope the conversation flows, will they even make an effort? Oh no, what if I’m kidnapped? Where is my closest escape?
Try your best to put these intrusive thoughts to the back of your mind. My advice to you here, is to focus on you. It is impossible to control someone else’s behaviour. So instead of overanalysing how someone may act, concentrate on how you will be perceived. Conscious and likeminded people will respond dependent on how you treat them in the moment. And as the saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression, so make it count – no pressure!
But listen, if you don’t put yourself out there, then there is no way you can expect results. This is something I had to learn the hard way. It’s weird to think that sitting around all day in my pyjamas, stuffing my face with cheese toasties wasn’t helping in my search for “the one”.
Have some fun, get your flirt on and pack mace.
The final stage; evaluation.
Once an ad has been put out into circulation, it is essential to conduct post campaign analysis to measure the effectiveness and reach of said ad.
Determining strengths, weaknesses and next steps aids the future development of any campaign.
This stage is just as important as the rest. Without a bit of reflection there is no way of bettering your strategy and, therefore, no way of bettering your success.
Finding a balance between self-improvement and self-detriment can be tricky. Be sure to be kind to yourself. Remember not to take things too personally, a pinch of salt may be useful here. Nevertheless, ignoring your flaws is a bit Donald Trump-y, so steer clear of that “I can do no wrong” mentality and own up to your mistakes, no matter how embarrassing.
Usually, it’s beneficial to compare brands by conducting competitor analysis. I am not suggesting you go and compare yourself to every other tinder profile online, that sounds like torture. What could be helpful, however, is comparing your dates (that is if and when there is multiple to compare).
Ask yourself, where did I excel? What didn’t work so well? Would I see them again? If no, then why?
If I had a pound for every time, I’ve wasted my energy chatting to boys because I missed out the
If I had a pound for every time, I have wasted my energy on a boy simply due to the fact I skipped the evaluation stage, I’d have like £20. Which isn’t really a lot but its £20 worth of mental decay, trying to pull blood from a handsome but overall, insufferably insatiable stone.
With these basic steps I have bestowed upon you, you now have the tools to sell anything you put your mind to (you are eternally welcome).
There are already hundreds and thousands of agencies out their working hard to punt our favourite products and brands worldwide. Let them do the heavy lifting whilst you concentrate on you.
Backing yourself in a world full of walking talking ad campaigns can be difficult. But remember, everyone is trying to sell themselves in one way or another. Whether it be on a first date or at a new job, you are fighting to win the pitch, so make sure that what you have to sell is worth buying.