Tuesday, October 20, 2009

It takes time

From my journal, about three weeks ago...

I am trying to make friends, but, it takes time. I know everyone's name and have a million acquaintences, but it's only been six weeks. Also, I'm noticing that while this really "diverse" group of people are really interesting to talk to, not having much in common makes it a tiny bit harder to get past the initial, "wow, that's interesting, what's it like to be raised in India?"

And, they're all science people. Turns out I really am 50% marketer, 50% scientist...which should serve me really well when I'm practicing =), but now, makes me feel like kind of a freak.

Just the other day at lunch, people were talking about what their parents do. I said, "my parents own and run an advertising agency. " The whole table looked at me really confused and said, "Oh, so he does fashion?" Now, I'm trying hard not to laugh at them because I'm picturing my dad in a leopard print leotard, with a black beret on and an orange feather boa around his neck.

How have these people not heard of advertising?! What kind of people are they? I'm insulted and wondering how to go about explaining it.

"Not exactly. Have you seen a commercial on TV, or a radio ad, or billboard? Advertising agencies make those."

"Really? I thought that McDonald's made their billboards."

"Well, maybe every once in a while. But, the process is pretty specialized and time consuming, so most companies spend their time and money making their product and hire professional 'advertisers' to at least produce it."

I'm not even going to begin explaining to them that we're just talking about mass media, not direct, or interactive, etc.

"Weird. Does it really take that much time? I always figured they just decide to put something on sale and then you know, make a commercial."

"Well, they might. But, someone has to decide who is going to be in the commercial, what they're going to say, what kind of burger to put in the picture, what time and on what stations it will air..."

"Whoa."

Now, I launch into a brief summary of what I did at my last job and they look at me like I just said ten sentences in Japanese. They're kind of impressed and kind of weirded out. So, I'm not exactly feeling "understood." You add in that I'm from Oregon, "the state with the suicide doctors" and well, I'm kind of a freak.