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I Wrote & Produced TV Commercials for Seinfeld, And Here’s What I Learned

In: Business 101, Marketing, Success,

A hundred years ago, I was in charge of writing and producing teaser commercials to let the public know that Seinfeld would soon be airing on the FOX network.

There was just one catch:

We couldn’t use the Seinfeld logo, the likeness, the music, or the footage.

Not until the date the license became active, anyway. But that would mean that we couldn’t promote it ahead of time—and that’s a problem when you need to get people excited.

So what’s a girl to do when she needs to promote something she can’t talk about?

She stops thinking about promoting Seinfeld, and starts thinking about promoting the things that Seinfeld stood for. (If you’re thinking it was a show about nothing, you’re wrong—it called out and questioned many, many cultural norms.)

I did this in the form of riddles and clues and inside jokes that only Seinfeld fans would understand, of course, each of which would air in 15-second clips that would pop up on the screen in between commercials to the tune of “Gold Digger” (which had nothing to do with anything except for the fact that it was 2006 and I knew people would start singing along as soon as the clips came on). As a result, we turned what would normally be an advertisement into a game—an early version of gamifying, if you will, before gamifying became a thing.

Because no matter what you’re selling, your only job is to get someone excited about it.

It’s far too easy to get bogged down by all of the minutia of the standard practices and the do’s and don’ts and the webinars and the sales copy and the price points and all of the other things that are making you run SCREAMING from talking to anyone about your thing.

But you don’t need a degree in marketing; what you need is enthusiasm.

The best marketing never feels like marketing—and the best way to promote yourself?

Is by promoting what you stand for.

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