After a long evening commute, I settled in with my family for a quiet night. (As quiet as toddlers can be. Which is to say, not that quiet.)
At one point, I hugged my daughter close and she noticed the logo on my T-shirt.
“Whassdat?” she asked, gazing up at me with the innocence of an almost-three-year-old.
“It’s a ‘swoosh.’ It’s from a company called Nike that makes sneakers.”
Yes, I know that she probably didn’t understand any of that — except the cool sound of the kinda-onomatopoeic brand icon used by Nike for the past four or five decades.
Yes, I could have said something innocuous like “It’s a funny circle shape!” and gotten the same reaction.
Yes, I realize that I might have indoctrinated her as a lifelong brand loyalist who has to, has to, HAS TO have the name brand (and cost myself thousands of dollars in the process).
But you see, I’m a marketer. A writer. An ad guy. And those things, you can’t turn off. Even during Daddy time on a Tuesday night.
Just like you can’t turn it off when you’re driving past one of those strip-malls-that-isn’t-a-strip-mall that’s full of small, Mom-and-Pop businesses that does screen printing or sells whozeewhatsis to telecommunications professionals. You drive by and say, “Hmm, I wonder they might benefit from my freelance services. I could help them grow their business with some well-crafted tweets and fun flyer copy.”
Or when you’re in the waiting room at the doctor, and you strike up a conversation with another sad sickly soul. “You see that denture bonding commercial? I can think of five things about it that I would have done differently.”
It’s in our wiring and our DNA. It drives us to careers where we can sit around debating for 10 minutes whether or not the Oxford comma is worth using in this case, where we end up talking about life stuff in the brainstorming room and about work stuff at lunch.
So yeah, teach your kids that Macs destroy PCs, that Ronald McDonald is the worst clown ever, and that the morally shaky Nike is known for its funny circle shape with a cool “swoosh” name.
I’ve already started.
My name is [NAME REDACTED], and I’m a marketer.
After a year of creative incarceration in Corporate World, your beloved Corporate Hack finally distracted the guards, outran the bloodhounds and scaled the wall to make his escape. Now that he’s back where he belongs in Ad World, he’s re-branded himself as The Inside Man...but he’s still having Ad-Verse Reactions.
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