I love advertising. I’m not sure lots of people would agree, but I genuinely love ads.
And it’s all thanks to my mother and her Diet Coke habit.
My mom drank a lot of Diet Coke when I was growing up. Printed under all the caps and inside the cardboard boxes was a code. My mom would type this code into our computer and, in return, my sister and I got the latest Seventeen magazine in our mailbox every month.
Since I was more preteen than 17, the articles didn’t appeal to me. I couldn’t relate. Instead, I found my eyes lingering on the pages with ads.
Like the Garnier woman with unbelievably shiny, long, silky, lusciously thick hair:
Tampax’s portrayal of Mother Nature:
Or CoverGirl’s iconic orange tube and its unbeatable lash power:
These ads aren’t necessarily groundbreaking or game-changing per se. But every month, with every new issue, I sat on the floor of my childhood bedroom and was utterly, inexplicably ✨fascinated✨.
Years later, when it was time to go to college, I had no direction in terms of what to declare as a major. I picked political communications because I was “kinda good” at government in high school (that was seriously my reason).
Trying to get through orientation as quickly as possible, I threw ADV 318J (Intro to Advertising) onto my schedule. I didn’t really know what it was. All I knew was that it was close to my dorm and didn’t require me to wake up too early. And that was enough for me.
During the very first lecture of the first day of ADV 318J, everything suddenly clicked. I remembered my Seventeen magazines with the ads I loved so much. How magically mystified those ads made me feel. During that lecture, I realized that advertising was my calling.
I changed my major after that first class.
I tell this story for a reason: Advertising is a hard industry. It’s a frustrating, heartbreaking, hair-pulling business.
When I look back and remember those old Seventeen magazines, I remember the pages that made me fall in love with advertising in the first place. And I remember that advertising is also a creative, fulfilling, rewarding job that I am so lucky to have.
Print ads aren’t everyone’s magic. But they’re mine. And for me, they make the frustrating, heartbreaking, hair-pulling days a lot easier.
Thank goodness I didn’t pay attention at freshman orientation. Thank goodness I impulsively signed up for Intro to Advertising. Thank goodness my mom drank so much Diet Coke.
And finally, thank goodness for Seventeen magazine.