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

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. 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. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. Lofty, indeed.
    Is nothing sacred anymore? I hate that anybody can slap a label on anything and call it what they want. There’s no truth in that kind of advertising. Either that, or there are some people out there that will never, ever understand the basics of word of mouth and customer empowerment no matter how many times or ways you explain it to them.

  2. It’s pretty Orwellian out there today. You have a right to put off. We all do. I just don’t see what anyone can do about it.
    Plus, we talk about how the customer decides what a brand is/means…I guess they can also decide what a brand ambassador is/means.

  3. My thoughts are; yes you can be a Freelance Brand Ambassador and some people are really good ones. Spokes models or spokespersons; celebrities do this regularly and the practice lies at the core of successful fundraising. Models, actors, bartenders, servers all make great brand ambassadors, if they are willing to learn your product. I do believe the most successful ambassadors are people who like or have at least tried the product and every ambassador must be willing and able to absorb product knowledge quickly yet thoroughly. The freelance brand ambassador is an essential part of today’s marketing culture. IRL marketing is still more than twice as effective as digital marketing; humans still prefer to be influenced by other attractive humans.