Recovering from shameful acts of self-promotion

louis vuitton logoWe’re used to having other people’s names stitched into our underwear and going to punk rock concerts sponsored by banks, but how do you build a blog brand? Sure, Gucci can get away with bedazzling its logo on dog collars, and no one would bat an eye if Louis Vuitton came out with a line of luxury baked goods, but publicizing a personal blog without overt awkwardness or coming across as, heaven forbid, (just typing the word hurts) narcissistic, is almost impossible.

It helps to get creative. Some of my, if not classy then at least less dignity destroying, strategies have included blog advertising shoes and a promotional bookmark flip book. These two DIY methods tend to catch people off guard, which, not coincidentally, is key to both advertising and horror movies. But for someone whose fear of networking can best be described as pure liquid terror, I am completely in the dark (possibly hiding under a table somewhere) about the social etiquette of self-promotion, especially when it comes to blogs. I can’t believe I’m telling you this, but I’ve actually handed out said bookmarks at funerals (oh for shame!) and even in airport public washrooms. I know, I know, totally inappropriate. All I can say is that like so many stupid-in-hindsight impulses, it always seemed like such a good idea at the time.

I have to confess that last night I hit a whole new low on the appropriateness scale. I was riding Calgary’s C-Train when another one of those “good ideas” popped into my head. The temperature had also hit a new low last night, and the two glass panels of the door I was standing beside were covered with a thick layer of frost. Someone had scrapped a jagged window with finger marks that looked like they’d been trying to claw their way out. Which, being a public transit regular, I can totally understand. I drew a small happy face in the top corner of the closest panel with a gloved finger. But that wasn’t enough. My gateway doodle led to a panel wide artistic portrait of a woman’s face, quite impressively executed, considering the medium – if I do say so myself. I spent the next few stops appreciating the poetic irony of being bundled beyond recognition while looking at a reflection that was the mirror image of my summer self.

But, of course, that wasn’t enough. Here was a rare opportunity for a DIY blog billboard! I scratched BLANKCANVASLIVING.COM into the second panel in an inverted U shape, leaving the space in the middle open – because every advertisement needs a visual. And what better blog brand ambassador than our darling mascot (see side panel) Mitch-the-insatiable-itch! Here’s where things went horribly wrong. By this point my finger was blunted with snow and I had to rush because we were almost at my stop. Finishing my ‘artistry’, I hurried out the opposite door – already beeping with urgency – and took a quick look back to survey my handiwork.

Oh Gawd! I’d just drawn – with wiggly distorted lines – what could best be described as a horned stick figure with a set of disproportionately huge male genitalia dangling under its belly!!! I had to watch it leering at me from under my calling card as it set off down the tracks – in full view of all the passengers! Nothing like lewd graffiti on public transit to really take your blog brand to the next level… sigh.

10 thoughts on “Recovering from shameful acts of self-promotion

    • Thanks Erin 🙂 The strategy may have been sound, at least in theory, but the wonky execution left my cheeks (already pink from the cold) full-on bright red with embarrassment. I’m just hoping my ‘billboard’ has melted by now and that I won’t get any stern blog comments/emails from our transit police! Unless, of course, they want to follow my blog – which would totally it all worthwhile lol

  1. Dear Cymbria,

    Laughed and laughed. You are really getting funny…actually to write funny as you were always funny. I guess you have a head for that. The things you get into would amaze even Kafka and he’s even dead.

    Really a LV cupcake!?

    Thanks for this; my November was now worthwhile.

    • Well, I suppose I’ve always had a rather funny head – course that’s depending on what sort of hair day I’m having lol. I’m so happy you got some good chuckles out of this. I’m still mortified! It was one of those times you just stand there shaking your head, saying to yourself, “I cannot even believe that just happened.”

      At least Kafka’s beetle didn’t have a trainload of Calgarians on hand to witness his metamorphosis into the absurd. Some of us always seem to end up playing out our surreal decision making process in full view of the public.

  2. love the idea of advertising on the frosted windows of transit….lovely moment to share with you….networking needs a new term, that doesn’t catch people in a net for work, but invites us into play and shared experiences.

    • “…that doesn’t catch people in a net of work…” – such a great way to put it, Lynn!

      Frosted DIY advertising is cost effective, environmentally friendly, and charmingly Canadian. It’s rare to find benefits to our cold winters, besides skiing, cuddling, and (not to be too cliché here, eh) playing pick-up hockey. ‘Sharing play’ being key to all three ~wink.

  3. “No no, really it’s a picture of Gregor the Kafka-beetle…” 🙂

    Great way to promote the blog. Stepping outside the square of the internet, where we all have the same volume, and taking it to the streets. And windows. Science tells me that the grease on any finger will mean the picture’s visible, under certain lighting, even after the frosting’s gone. Until the window’s cleaned, but if Calgary trains are cleaned if anything like the (in)frequency of the Wellington ones, it means you’ve got a permanent blog-vert up there for the next 230 years!

    • Hehee – you know, with how the Mitch sketch turned out, I could probably get away with excusing it as Gregor! That would make the whole episode so much more literary, and possibly even verging on highbrow. Anything to distance myself from the plain fact that I doodled a decidedly lowbrow rendition of certain reproductive necessities on public transit.

      Ah well, from Tony the Tiger stuffed toys to “Where’s The Beef?” T-shirts, every new advertising medium needs a pioneer to Lewis ‘n’ Clark us into the future. 230 years from now, they’ll be framing this bit of history for posterity lolz (as long as no one under 18 is allowed into the exhibit!)

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