No Such Thing As A Freelance Ambassador

Spike Jones at Brains On Fire points out that the term “brand ambassador” has variable meanings. Since Spike’s preferred definition is on the lofty side, it rattles him that there is a seedier side to the term.

This weekend I received an email from a woman who wanted to offer her “brand ambassador” services, plus that of her two friends. Brand ambassadors for what? Exactly. For anything and everything. In other words, they were freelance brand ambassadors. They sent me their measurements, eye color and hair color and asked if I wanted to see any pictures of them (I said “no,” so stop it). They sent me their ambassador experience that included two and three day stints working the Canon Tour Truck and NASCAR. Bulls’s Eye Promo Tour and Banana Boat. Volkswagen and Verizon. And Budweiser and the Hawaiian Tropic Bikini Team. (I will not ask for photos, I will not ask for photos, I will not ask for photos…)
So if you haven’t figured it out now, these women are models that get paid to chat up products. And while someone in an exec suite at Verizon has called them “brand ambassadors,” it couldn’t be further from the definition that we use around our halls and with our clients. Yes, you can be passionate about talking. But I don’t believe that you can be passionate about whatever is put in front of you. The real brand ambassadors that we find have created a section of their lives around that one cause or brand that they feel a kindred spiritship with. That’s powerful. And it can’t be bought.

About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative direction at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.