Lots of people I meet seem interested in my side work as a promotional model/brand ambassador/sales model/booth babe (whatever you prefer to call it). I’ve been in this business for about six years, and as fun as it is, this line-o-work ain’t for sissies! I’m going to be training some newbie Cayrum Honeys, and since my blogs listing things you should know about being a receptionist are so popular, I thought I’d teach you a handful of things you should know about being a promo gal. Hopefully this post will be enjoyable despite the fact I love this line of work (I know how much my administrative misery entertains you people).
1) Looks Matter
It’s true. In the promo business, looks matter, and some companies roll differently than others. I’ve been denied work because of the way I look. I’ve even been told so. Some companies/brands/venues just don’t want a short, curvy blonde with short hair. They’d rather have a tall girl with no body fat, mile long legs, a flowing mane and big boobs for a bonus. I know some of you are going to say things like “that’s discrimination,” or “sexual harassment!” But, that’s just how it is. If I can deal with it, so can you.
2) Not Being a Dumbass Helps
One advantage I have over lots of the other sales models is I am not a dumbass. I do common sense things, like show up on time and in uniform, know what the frack I’m selling, not get drunk at the venue, be respectful and kind to management and staff, do my paperwork, not call-out all the time, be available for shifts, be willing to go the extra mile, get along with everybody, and be approachable and liked by clients and customers. I’m the Twilight Sparkle of promos, and it’s amazing how using one or two brain cells gives me an edge.
3) You’re Gonna Get Hit-on
I hate it when girls put themselves out there and get offended when men have the audacity to make a move. If you become a promo gal or booth babe, you are presenting yourself as a sex object. You are not an old lady serving samples of microwavable weenies at a grocery store. You are not a business woman staring at graphs and sending memos in a suit from a desk. You are some chick in a skimpy outfit flirting to make an impression. Don’t expect total respect from drunk dudes who like your rack, think you are smokin’ hot and ask dumb questions like “If I buy this, do you come with it?” or “Can I get a hug to go with this?” I know some guys take their admiration too far, but don’t hate the player. Hate the game. Enjoy the flattery or get another job.
4) Don’t Be a Bitch
This is good advice for anybody in any work situation. Don’t be catty to other promo girls and give them the stank eye. It’s not their fault the store double booked. Don’t disrespect the venue managers and misbehave. I’ve heard about girls who leave their posts to heckle patrons down the vodka aisle. For shame. If you’re a bitch temporarily to get a job or make an immediate sale, it won’t last, so be nice!
5) Brand Awareness vs Hustling
Some promo babes are hustlers and others are brand ambassadors. I was trained to raise brand awareness. This means I want to create a positive image and possible relationship with a consumer, even if that person will not commit to an immediate purchase. I want to sell as much product as possible without pissing people off, so they may still be open to the brand. Some girls, however, completely miss that point and either A) Bully people into buying drinks or B) Fail to promote brand facts (Like just promoting a drink price without talking about what is in it. Derp).
6) Some Venues are Better Than Others
I love working at bars, clubs, concert venues and festivals. Retail venues? Not as much. But, you can’t be too picky if you wanna make those stacks. Even though party venues are much more fun and exciting and good for boosting the ego, liquor, grocery and drug stores are where lots of the work is. So when getting offers for work, I have to adopt my mother’s saying she uses for little kids when she is substitute teaching: You get what you get, and you don’t pitch a fit! (Even if the store is in the ghetto and nobody speaks English. Whatever. Gotta Werk.)
7) Some Products are Better Than Others
Some brands have a crazy budget, awesome swag and are amazing/popular products, while others may have less notoriety and/or excitement to offer. I never work for a brand I don’t like. I just can’t support a brand that I think sucks, and I would never want to lie for a living. That doesn’t mean some can be hard to sell. It’s much easier to sell a relatively inexpensive product with great marketing materials than a very expensive brand with no freebies or coupons. At least I have lots of swagger to counter a lack of swag.
8) Sampling in GA is Can Be Lame
Promoting non-alcoholic drinks is fun because you often give away samples, but liquor is not so easy. Unlike many other states, I can’t give free spirit samples in a Georgia liquor store. We just got Sunday sales, so why do GA natives think we can distribute free booze all of a sudden? If some betch is giving you margarita samples in Atlanta, she is just giving you the mix and not letting-slip that it’s tequila-free. Have fun pretending to be drunk off of less than an ounce of colored sugar syrup.
9) Don’t Take Rejection Personally
This can be hard for some people, but learning to hear the word no is a must for promo girls. Some people just don’t want to talk to you, no matter how sweet and cute you are and no matter how many key chains, samples and coupons you have. Even more people want to find ways to get freebies without paying for anything or interacting with you too much. I went into hilarious details about this recently, remember? I just do my best, push the sale as hard as I can without being a jerk and don’t take it personally when people say no, even if they give me the stank eye.
Your tips are helpful, I know looks matter in modeling. Model have good demand in market and they can easily promote business awareness.
I’m glad you liked the article. It’s funny but still too true. Yeah, looks do matter, and it is interesting to see which companies are more finicky about body measurements and which care more about brand message delivery and sales. Of course, it’s ideal to have both, but I have to appreciate the companies who understand that what I lack in height I make up for in awesomeness. Lol. 🙂
The article was very helpful. Do you have anytips about actually getting started in the industry?
I’m glad you liked it. As far as getting into the industry, I have a few ideas to point you in the right direction (or at least I hope). My first job was with Red Bull, and I found a “help wanted” flyer on my college campus. The rest of the jobs I’ve found on Craigslist in the “Marketing” and “Gigs” sections. Sometimes promos are handled by the brand directly, and other times it may be done by a distributor or modeling agency. Next time you see a person doing a promo or demo, just ask who they work for. Then you can contact that company directly. If you have any friends who do this kind of work, ask if they are hiring. Sometimes these companies give promo gals referral bonuses, so it would be a win-win. Make sure you have a couple cute pics of yourself that you can email to potential employers (At least a head shot and full body shot, but these pics do not have to be professionally taken). Think of how your past work experience and/or extracurricular activities would be an asset in the promo industry. Being an experienced promo model is a big help when finding new work, but these companies usually have no problem training somebody brand new if he/she has potential and passion. Good luck, and feel free to contact me for more help. 🙂
i like your ideas,i have some questions can you tell me your e-mail?
Very useful =D
This was very helpful, just got hired on 🙂 The events are about an hour away from where I live. 25$/hr plus gas compensation. On average, how long is a typical event ? I know it’s hard to judge bc it depends on what the event is… But if you could give an estimate that would be great! How many hours can you expect to work an event ?
Good question, and congrats! Welcome to the wild, wacky world of promos and demos! Event lengths do vary, though I find the average liquor event to be around 2 hours (sometimes longer for special events and extra far away venues). Non liquor events seem to go longer, anywhere from 2 to 4 hours, probably because you can wear comfy shoes for these instead of high heels. If you work at a festival for something, those can be longer days, maybe even 6 to 8 hours if they don’t have a large staff for that brand in the area. But really, if the work is fun, it flies by no matter what. 🙂 Just have a great pair of tennis shoe and find the comfiest pair of pumps you can, and you’ll be fine.
Hi there, I found your blog and am in love. I too am a jack of all trades and am wanting to work as a Promo Girl. I ran into a Cayrum Girl at a liquor store and she told me she searched Craigslist. I liked how she represented the company and it gave me a positive view of the brand. I would love to work for Cayrum. Do you get any incentives for bringing people aboard??? How would I go about applying for Cayrum directly?
So flattered!!!!! I love to meet a fellow Jack of All Trades!! I wish I knew more about Cayrum right now. I worked with them directly, but later on they went with some modeling agency. I did not get grandfathered-in (not to start drama, but I saw the pics of the gals back then, understood why and backed off when not accepted despite sales numbers). So, I know nothing. Sad but true. I liked working with them a lot. 😦
Unfortunately, searching for promo work is much like searching for regular work. All the normal sites are key, but it is good to know more about the red flags of what is promo work and what is multi-level-marketing. Feel free to contact me anytime for help. I love your face, even though I’ve never seen it, and I wish you lots of luck!!!! ❤
Hello I’m really interested in becoming a promo girl! But the job search has been so hard any help?
Sure! I know it can be hard to land that first gig, but once you get one or two under your belt and on your resume, it gets easier. Check all the job sites (I found Craiglist’s “Marketing” and “Gigs” sections particularly useful.), and when you apply, make your case. Tell this potential employer how much you’d like to be in this line of work, and tell them why taking you on would benefit them (Hard working, quick on you feet, responsible, people person, punctual, prepared, responsible, fun, flexible, eager to learn, etc.).
Another thing you should do is ask the source directly. Next time you see a person doing a promo or demo, just politely express your interest in their work and ask who they work for. Most promo peeps are nice and won’t mind this, and they will either direct you to the company website, give you a business card or take your information. Good luck with the search, and keep me posted!
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Really enjoyed your blog! I have been a promo model for over 10 years now and once you get to know the industry and the different agencies it can be rewarding and lucrative. I started doing it part time and on the side for extra money and after a few years found I was makng more doing it than many full time jobs and I love the flexibility and the ability to take time off for travel and other pursuits when the opportunity knocks. You are so right about using your brain and common sense it will raise you above the level of being just another pretty face. By being reliable,dependable, and a good salesperson I find that these qualities are what makes certain promo models more sought after than others and also make offers of good paying and interesting work more plentiful. Always good to hear words of wisdom from a comrade in arms in my chosen profession. Best wishes for continued success!
Hi, Stacy! I’m glad you liked the article, and yes! Promo work and BA gigs have been wonderful for me. It supported me financially when I needed some extra hours, and it was so flexible as I transitioned into voiceover as a career. After you get the hang of it and acquire some great clients, it is really a wonderful job (waaaaay better than some of the other jobs I worked in the past). It also feels good to be sought after, especially when you know it’s because you do your job well. Good luck to you, too, My Friend! ❤
Hi I was interested in going into the field but would like to know details about the pay and possibility of moving up the ladder? (Particularly red bull or even rockstar/monster energy) also, what are some very prominent traits they look for besides looks? Thank you 🙂
It’s a fun field to be a part of, and Red Bull and Rock Star are great ideas, especially for moving up. You won’t always see a career ladder with promo work. It pays well (usually between 18 and 30 dollars per hour), and over time you can make more. But other than snagging a manager’s job, your position does not often change with agencies or smaller brands.
If you haven’t booked a job in the field yet, that’s okay. It may be a little harder to get your foot in the door, but once you do, you kick ass and make them want to work with you over and over. I started with Red Bull one summer, and now I have enough experience to have a resume specifically for promo and BA work. Two things may help you get ahead in the resume pile: 1) Reliability and 2)Personality.
I kinda learned over time that resumes for this line of work need to be professional, but they do not have to fall within the normal, unexciting parameters of traditional job hunting. Be a little creative and find ways to express yourself a bit. Mine has some color and the illustration you see on this site. It’s not too unconventional, but it stands out and shows a preview of how fun and outgoing I am. I find another way I snag new clients is to show them they have nothing to worry about when hiring me. Look, there are lots of awful promo gals out there. They show-up late or not at all. They don’t follow directions They don’t learn about the product, thinking they can just be pretty and not worry about talking points. They are lazy. I would use key words in my resume and describe in my cover letter how I am NOT that girl. I wouldn’t be derogatory towards them, but I would mention that I always show up on time, in uniform, makeup done, with brand facts in mind. I am fun and personable but still responsible. Think of some of your traits and skills that would make you a great candidate. I liked to assure the potential client that they could rest easy with me on the job. I would exceed their expectations, and then once booked, I’d do just that.
Good luck, and keep me posted on how it goes!
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There are many ways to go about promo work. I personally never used an agent, but I did work through a couple marketing companies. I would never take a job that offered less than $20 an hour. I see too many companies trying to hire at 10 to 15, and that is ridiculous. We are being paid for a certain skill set, commitment and look, and we gotta stick together and not let companies buy our services for less than they are worth. If anybody here goes with an agency for work, just be careful. An agent NEVER asks for money up front. If they do, run.
Thank you so much, I really enjoyed your blog post! I am not tall but have wanted (and been told) to become a model, I have had experience with door to door sales for Comcast along with other sales work, and from the sounds of it, this sounds really similar in many ways (just not having door slammed in your face 😊) and something that I could try to do and enjoy! I kinda gave up the idea of modelling cuz the only people that would want a short person like me are porn or glamor people….not something I really want to do if I can help it lol.
Anyways I know there are LOTS of scams out there…like fake agencies and shady stuff on Craig’s list ….any words of wisdoms as to picking a job that will not take advantage of you? Key things to watch for?
Thank you again! Your post inspired me!
LOL! That bit about porn wanting short gals cracked me up. It’s so true! I do think the cuteness and approach-ability that comes with being a shawty is a huge advantage with promo work, even if the majority of girls who are hired are on the taller, more traditional model side of things. Avoiding scams and crappy jobs while hunting is a lofty and probably impossible goal, but learning of red flags is definitely doable. As far as agencies go, they should NEVER as for money up front. If they do, run. Agencies get a % cut of work you book. Though really, I didn’t ever have an agent for promo work. I do have two now for voice over though.
I found most of my promo and demo jobs on Craigslist, funny enough. The scams I would find were either multi-level marketing schemes pretending to be brand work, crappy sales jobs that pay next to nothing but act like you should want to work 10 hours a day for commissions on crappy products at Costco, or seemingly normal gigs that pay shit fifty an hour. Jobs that had lot of all caps, click bait promises, and symbols in the title and description were a no go. Example: ~*~ 🙂 $ ~*~ READY FOR A CAREER ADVENTURE?! MAKE HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS A WEEK HAVING FUN DOING BRAND MARKETING! NO ROOM FOR BORING HERE! ~*~ 🙂 $ ~*~ If a job mentions becoming a trainer and building a team, it’s probably not really a promo job. If the job says you have to work for free for a while, it’s lying garbage. If a job wants to pay less than 20 bucks an hour starting, they are trying to grab people who are willing to work for less than industry standard. Once you screen through those, you can pick out any straggling scams as you correspond with the potential employer through email and during the interview. Good luck! I hope you find some good work. I think you have the chops to make it happen. Looks. Smarts. Drive. 🙂
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I appreciate the tips on becoming a promotional model. I agree that it is important to ensure that you don’t take rejection personally, it doesn’t mean that you aren’t a good model it just means you aren’t who they are looking for. I would imagine that there is a lot of rejection in the industry and it is tough to keep your head up sometimes.
Oh absolutely! I struggled with this a good bit back in the day because I was a very unconventional promo model. I was/am pretty and approachable, and I have always been very good at promoting brands. But…I’m just under five feet tall and though in good shape, am not the body type some brands want. It would be painful to lose work because I wasn’t more like a print or runway model, but the brands that worked with me liked my look, work ethic and attitude. Best of luck to ya! 🙂