What is Promotional Modeling?
Believe it! Here's how promotional modeling can jumpstart your career in professional modeling.
Professional modeling is a competitive industry. It is said that "8 out of 10 girls dream of a career in modeling," and now more boys are following suit. Promotional modeling is less competitive and will give you valuable experience within the industry, but what does it mean to be a promotional model?
Promotional modeling includes work done at conventions and trade show events, whereby models are hired as greeters at booths to hand out literature and handle promotional items such as hats arid T¬-shirts, as well as to answer basic questions pertaining to when seminars or demonstrations are scheduled. The right model can increase traffic through a booth or store substantially. Through this type of work a model may be able develop contacts with the marketing executives that may lead to future print work. You may have the opportunity to learn the customers' product lines and be considered an invaluable asset, often traveling (at corporate expense) to major cities for these companies when they are participating in a trade show. Promotional modeling also includes pass¬ing out samples at cosmetic counters (often during the Christmas buying season and the summer) during special promotions arranged by companies. Promotional models are also employed at store openings, product launches, and corporate parties.
After many years modeling overseas, I forged ahead and made my way to New York City, where professional modeling is most competi¬tive. The print work that I had been used to booking was harder to get and not as plentiful. One day my agent called and asked if I would like to take a booking for a bank. They were having a party and wanted some attractive girls to attend. I was paid $400 just to attend! Here's another example: I had heard that some girls were working at a hip new video arcade/club in Times Square- NYC. They were being paid $30 per hour just to play video games. I went in with my portfolio and was offered a job. I worked there the whole summer, pulling in more than $1,000 per week. The arcade's goal was to increase their attendance by having models circulate with the customers, encouraging them to play the rather expen¬sive video games. I would challenge the girls and guys to a video game, and, soon enough, I got so good at all the games that no one could beat me! That job lasted the whole summer and was a lot of fun.
All types of promotional jobs are available, if you know the right places to look. If you live in a small town, you may want to visit your local department store's cosmetic department. If you ask at the counter, they generally hire fragrance mod¬els there for around $15 an hour (holiday seasons are best). Also, if you live near a convention hall, work is much more plentiful. Sometimes the convention hall itself has either a listing of promotional agencies you can contact or the convention centers themselves may provide some sort of employment services to provide to their exhibitors.
If you live near a theme park, you may want to consider character jobs, which can be very taxing due to the heat and heavy costume. To compensate, character roles can pay as much as $30 an hour. The theme park should - and usually does - arrange a generous break schedule to keep its character actors comfortable.
Once you master basic promotions, you may want to explore pre¬senting products through narration and demonstration at convention centers throughout the country, which pays up to $1,200 per day. The agencies associ¬ated with the aforementioned bookings are scattered throughout the country, and they often book in your local area, basing their hiring decision on your headshot, resume and, on occasion, a demo video. You should learn how to use an ear prompter - a device that will play the script in your ear so you can fol¬low. These scripts usually are made up of very long, dry information. The ear prompter will serve as your best friend, when and if you are asked to give this lecture every hour during an eight-hour workday.
Promotional modeling usually serves as steady work for many models/actors waiting for their next print booking or acting gig. It is also a useful outlet to build communication skills and increase confi¬dence. Why should you choose promotional modeling over a part-time job? One reason is that promotions tend to be scheduled during week¬ends, when the greatest number of customers are out. Even trade shows are usually booked on weekends. For that reason, promotional model¬ing assignments tend to afford you greater flexibility than part-time jobs, leaving time for castings and audi¬tions during weekdays. Because of their short-term nature, promotional jobs also let you pick and choose in order to work around your other bookings.