today's random word is "ADVERTISING"
“I will be studying journalism,” I told the reporter when he interviewed me. The flash on his camera blinded me for a moment. I had received a scholarship from the Pleasant Hills Women’s Club, in spite of horrific grades in a couple classes. It was the other stuff about me that sold them, much to their credit. Yes, I would study journalism at BYU with the funds they had so graciously given me.
Then I took a journalism class.
That’s when I decided to study advertising.
Advertising was a much better fit. Journalists are writers, of course. But creativity was not what they were looking for in my journalism class. It was, on the other hand, exactly the right fit in advertising.
My first full campaign was for a pressure cooker, one particularly marketed for its ability to cook crisp and tender chicken. The recipe that came with the cooker was reported to have been Colonel Sanders’ original Kentucky Fried Chicken recipe. My research told me that the reason most households did not own pressure cookers was because they feared the pressure. In other words, they worried about the thing blowing its lid. So when they gave us our own cookers to use for a week, I had the same worries. This cooker, however, had guarantees that it could handle the pressure. So I cooked us up a batch of chicken and it was pretty yummy. And the cooker did just what it said it would do.
My campaign for hard copy and for television and radio had a reporter at the site of Old Faithful. Anticipating the hourly eruption, the crowd was gathered to see that they had placed a rather large pressure cooker lid, just like the one we were selling, on top of the geyser. Of course, it didn’t blow. And so…. Well, you get the drift. Our pressure cooker can handle any pressure, even Old Faithful. I got a good grade in the class, and eagerly anticipated the next level class in my Advertising major. But I had a visit from the stork and instead ended up dealing with the pressures of motherhood. Still, I think I might have been pretty good at advertising if I had ever had a chance to use it.
The concepts have come in handy through the years though. I’ve used the principles without knowing it for…well, forever. I could sell Libby on whatever pretending game I wanted. And I seriously convinced Ann Marie, for years, that I was going to run away from home and she would never see me again. She chased after me every time. Seriously, every single time. Bless her dear, tender heart for running after me.
My first semi-serious gig in advertising, at least the one where there was an audience other than my family, was when I was in eighth grade. Maybe it was seventh. In our Language Arts classes, all students were assigned to create an imaginary product and try to sell it. There was a contest, and I won. I made a prototype of my product and presented it at a school assembly. I remember I wore my new bib overall shorts and my hair was on pig tails. I stood at the front of the stage next to my machine.
“Hey there folks…”I said in my best southern drawl… “Bertha here, lettin’ y’all in on a little ol’ secret! This here is the answer to yer worries. Pappy Parker’s Powerful Pound Popping Machine. Mmmm Hmmm.”
The way it worked was you put one overweight person in one side of the machine, and one skinny Minnie in the other. Then with the flip of a switch and some flashing colored lights the two emerged all normal sized and everything. Mom had found a refrigerator box and we painted it and added lights and all. Or at least I think we did. I really don’t remember. And my imagination plays tricks with my memory anyway. But I did get an A, and I did win the contest, and I did wear my cool new bib overall shorts and my black and white saddle shoes with knee high socks.
Obviously the machine was fake, because if it were real I would not look like the “before”. And I would be rich.
Had I not been a “kept woman” all my adult life, and I needed to make real dough with a real get-up-and-go-to-work schedule, I think I would have done advertising. And I think I might have been pretty good at it. As it worked out for me, I spent my days instead multitasking at the old homestead, shuttling kids from here to there, mixin’ up a pot o’ stew fer dinner, stayin’ up late doin’ homework with my chillen’, and then working on songwriting after they went to bed. It’s been a good gig. But it has had its hefty portion of pressure. Makes me think it might have been a cool idea to make those pressure cooker lids into hats.
For overworked parents.
So they don’t blow their lids.
So they don’t blow their lids.