I did many promos back in my day. I did some for Unilever, many for Colgate Palmolive and others for GlaxoSmithKline. These jobs were not flattering but they were easy to come by. They also gave me something to do as I waited for my tertiary education to begin. Some days were good days, others were a bust but some were quite interesting. For example, it was always interesting when I met or hit on new chicks.
I remember this one chick. She was beautiful, articulate and apparently, from a wealthy family. I never asked about her family wealth but everybody seemed intrigued by the fact that she lived along State House Road. Personally, I could not care less. She talked about big things, big dreams and great ambition. The same things I talked about so we hit it off immediately.
Now, working promos was like a never-ending exercise in public relations. You had to relate well with consumers, merchandisers, supervisors and supermarket staff. Luckily, I knew how to handle these people especially when they tried to get at you. Unfortunately, my new-found friend did not. She was quiet, laid back and timid. Her only joy was working.
Ironic, is it not? A young woman from the leafy suburbs working for three hundred bob a day when she does not have to. Well, not so ironic. I was used to it by now. Many young women felt a sense of adventure once they cleared high school. They could not wait to hit the ground running even before they went to campus. I believe the proper phrase is, ‘sharks are born swimming.’
These young women had too much energy, too many dreams and an easy avenue to get things started. Sadly, this was not the proper avenue for them but they did not know it yet. For example, this young woman would go to Nairobi Sports House to buy casual wear (sweat suits and sneakers) for her to work easy on Saturdays and Sundays. As I said before, she had a vision in mind. She thought that this was a proper workplace but she was in for a rude shock.
Anybody who has done promos would know that promos can pretend to have a proper working structure but they can never really have one. Casual wear was an ideal but she was dealing with people who cared little about ideals. Even worse, she was perpetuating her ideals with such style and finesse. I loved every minute of it.
People hated and when I say people, I mean women. They simply hated. Merchandisers, supervisors and promoters hated. They gave her such a hard time that the dudes, I at the forefront, had to step in and defend her all the time. She took the abuse quite softly but slowly the timid girl began to fight back. They trashed her because of her family’s wealth and so she turned the tables on them by putting her wealth on the table and in their face. I tell you, there is nothing as beautiful as the ‘rise of the fallen.’
The pills were bitter to swallow for those who hated. For example, her casual wear would cost more than two weeks salary for even the supervisors. She would subtly tell them where to buy it and then wait for their reaction. The comeback was priceless. Long story short, this young woman worked for the duration of the promo and then gracefully decided to quit promos for good.
Now, promoters who fell out with merchandisers and supervisors often had their salaries delayed, cut or not given at all. However, these people gave this young woman every cent they owed her not because of a change in heart but because they feared possible repercussions from the family of the girl who lived along State House Road.