My Summer As A Promotional Model

Life Inside Promotions & Breaking Into The Promotional Modeling Business

Last summer I spent my weekends as a promotional model for several promotional modeling companies. I had a great time, met a lot of great people, and earned a decent income booking events. However there are some cons to this job. You are typically on your feet all day, you are normally going to be outside in the weather, and you might not necessarily like the promotional modeling coordinator. But then how many of us hit it off with every co-worker?

Though the life of a promotional model isn't necessarily as glamerous as it may sound, and though it is a physically taxing profession, requiring you to exude confidence there's a lot of play for the profession. Mention you're a promotional model and heads turn. Mention you make $360 in a weekend talking to people and everyone's interest is peaked. And in this economy who doesn't want to make additional income having fun, meeting lots of people and looking good?

So what's really up with this anyway?

It's quite simple really. The hourly wage begins at about $10 an hour depending upon the type of venue or sponsor and can pay as much as $30 per hour. Typically you will be required to submit a headshot and bodyshot to the promotional modeling company along with your resume and related work experience. Just because your 38 years old or even 40 doesn't mean there isn't a niche for you. And just because you are a male doesnt' mean you can't break into the action. By all means men are just as hot a commodity as women in this industry.

Many companies don't necessarily care about your age but your beauty, your body, your smile, and the resume which shows you have potential to be marketable. This means that if you are like me thirty-something, and you are attractive, are personable, have worked on some type of project or promoted any type of product or event, you just might be able to land consistent work in the field and make a good living doing it. Just keep in mind that most companies hire you as an independent which means you are responsible for your taxes, social security, Etc. etc. So having said that it helps to keep good records and all of your travel receipts.

Yes you can! You can travel anywhere in the United States if you have the means and the freedom to do so. If you want to book an event in Florida this weekend and then next weekend an event in California there is definitely job opportunities available to do just that. Most companies have multiple states and many sponsors who need a promotional model at their events. If you decide to book multiple events in different states you will need to be at the upper pay spectrum looking for events that pay around $30 an hour. These jobs will require you to have a hard body, nice smile, gorgeous hair, and be drop-dead beautiful. The reason? The client is paying for perfection. But thankfully for most of us, slight imperfections are wavered and still marketable even if we aren't paid $30 an hour.

Well then what if you do want to travel. Travel pay isn't included in this type of work, so it's best if you do decide to travel that you keep in mind that this type of industry will only become hobby work you. In a typical weekend you can make $360 on average -$480 on the upper end.

Well, is it legit, and who are the sponsors (clients)? Of course it's legit. And it doesn't permit any type of unethical behavior. Remember you will be representing businesses like Nike, Gatorade, Mountian Dew, The United States Army, Snickers, Hallmark, and American Express just to name a few.

So what's the catch? There is no catch. You just have to look nice, have good working ethics, be a team player, have confidence and stick to any rules the promotional modeling company gives you. Any decent job has those requirements.

So where do you begin?

Tips for success:

  • Always keep your resume updated
  • Book events in several side-by-side states
  • Do network with other promotional models at events and coordinate travel arrangements with professional promotional models who travel the circuit. This will save you money on hotel expenses and gas if you want to work the circuit.
  • Do show your enthusiasm to the promotional modeling company that has booked you to be on time, willing to work at the drop of a dime, willing to travel to a nearby state, and willing to stay in touch and keep your profile updated with the company.
  • No visible tatoos unless the client specifically is marketing for tatted models.
  • No visible body piercings. Absolutely no nose rings. Don't even try it (you will be sent home without being paid.)
  • Do stick to the dress code. Ladies don't wear open-cleavage tops to the events even though the sponsor provides your polo free for you to wear. You will want to show up at all of your events in the same type of clothing:
  • White or black tennis shoes with socks
  • Khaki or black shorts or in some cases khaki or black pants
  • White Polo type cotton shirt (not too tight please)
  • Stay light on the perfume or cologne (you don't want to gag the consumer.)
  • No cursing/swearing/talking about your baby mama/papa drama for the consumer to overhear.
  • And no negative talk about the sponsors product or other events you will circuit. You will want to give the consumer the idea that this sponsor is the only one you work for ALL OF THE TIME!

There you have it. And now you want to know my sources, right? "Who will give me this exciting job and how can I make money this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, you eagerly ask?"

I would love to share that with you. And I will in an upcoming blog. If you like this blog and would like to know what companies I recommend leave a comment for me.

Ciao my friends,

Elleissa

Comments 11 comments

ceholmes profile image

ceholmes 6 years ago from Chicago

I am a promo model and I have done some really cool events! great article, the life of a promotional model is very interesting!


ceholmes profile image

ceholmes 6 years ago from Chicago

I am a promo model and I have done some really cool events! You're right, the life of a promotional model is really interesting!


elleissa profile image

elleissa 6 years ago from California Author

Thank you Ceholmes! I consider it a great compliment from an avid writer (you). You mentioned you did promotional modeling. How long did you do promotional modeling? Well, you look great! I still need to update this with my sources. I've been busy. So hey thanks for stopping by. Ciao Ceholmes!


Julie 5 years ago

I have done promos before too but you forgot to mention one major con. The time it takes them to pay you! I only did one promo where I got paid in 2 weeks, the rest it took around a month to get paid. So if you want to do promos for your permanent job- I suggest saving some $ so you can be financially stable while you wait for the pay.


Stacy 4 years ago

I am a promotional spokesmodel and have been doing it for ten years now. I combine it with my career in fashion merchandising. I love it and find the job to be interesting and exciting. I have been involved in some promotions and product launches involving some very exciting products from jewelry to skincare to chocolate! The money has been lucrative and often includes commission in addition to a healthy hourly wage, not bad in a economy that has been spiraling downhill! Thanks for your input, it is always good to hear from another associate in the field! Please let me know if you do post any more blogs!


Margaret Colebeck 4 years ago

These tips for success are very helpful! Here are a few more tips for promotional models preparing for a job.

1. Study up on the brand you will be representing before you go to the event. Being a strong brand ambassador will be sure to get you noticed and rehired!

2. Be flexible. There are many different types of positions in promotional modeling, from booth babes to costume characters. If you are willing to do more than one, you are more likely to score jobs.

3. Always smile and be approachable, but not pushy. Your actions will create a permanent impression in the customer’s mind about the product you are representing. Make it a positive one.

4. A really great one to promotional modeling agency you can check out is Vantage Advertising. Their website is http://www.models4tradeshows.com/.


NFOW 3 years ago

Thank you so much for all of the information. It is truly more helpful and realistic coming from seasoned professionals than Wikipedia.


Chris Rob. 2 years ago

Elleissa I want to thank you for your article, I did have a weekend about 15-years ago for a top motorbike company..

It turned out I was the top seller that one and only weekend..

I thank you for answering a few questions that I needed answers for.

If you have time for a few one on one questions please let me know ca.rob1@hotmail.com


Audrey 2 years ago

Any suggestions for getting started from nothing? My resume has nothing to do with promotional modeling. I have 2 college degrees in a science field and mostly internships with professional corporations. I would like to give promo modeling a try, but I have no experience.


Taylor 9 months ago

I am 19 and just got into the business. I was asked to work a boat show event and would love to work more because I am a college student , every penny counts. I just don't know where to start. SOS?!


elleissa profile image

elleissa 9 months ago from California Author

Taylor- the simplest method to locating promotional modeling companies that are legit is through Google. Before sending headshots/ bodyshots, and private information, research your prospects and prove their worthiness of your time and talent. With the ability to rate and review companies nowadays, it's getting harder for the illegitimate companies to hide from their critics. There's nothing like working for a stale company or one that pays little and makes great demands. Models who have had less than stellar marks with a company will be eager to share the experience to keep these companies from becoming successful .

Be willing to take only the assignments you want and decline the ones you don't want without fear that the company will withdraw it's offers.

There are niche markets you may be better suited for. Currently niche markets such as alcohol related events unfortunately would be off limits because of your age, but that being said they are one of the highest paying markets, and in a few years you will have the experience needed to land the job given you remain in shape (being fit is a MUST for being a beer model). Their sponsors are willing to sign bigger contracts, thus meaning better pay for the spokesmodel.

Just to recap Google "Promotional Modeling Companies".

Before signing up for anything or providing vital information research the company. Your research can even include the owner of the company. You can typically get the owner's information from www.manta.com

Find out how long they have been in business. All that crucial information that will give you an idea whether or not it feels like a good fit.

Good luck in your endeavors. It is certainly an exciting venture to begin. And if you get the opportunity at some point to be a promotional modeling coordinator, do it. You get paid about $5 to $10 more an hour and it enhances your value to any promotional modeling company.

Also beware of the exclusivity clause in any contract. Shy away from any company who will not allow you to work simultaneously with other promotional modeling companies while contracted with them. Just walk away from that one and quickly.

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