• Julia Boyd

How a Porta Potty Taught Me the Basics of Advertising

Updated: Jan 16

I never pictured myself going into an industry that was more actively avoided than the plague. People would say:

“Oh you’re in advertising? Good...it could definitely use the help.”

Sure, some ads can be annoying, but this hatred has practically become a universal understanding. I used to always see ad agencies with Don Draper-like glamor, but now it’s an aggressive salesman knocking everyday at my door.

We’re drowning in noise, consuming more than 5,000 ads a day. Analytics are tracking our every move to make sure we’re still exposed to that random google search from three weeks ago. We want a genuine brand connection, but when we’re forced to talk to more human sounding robots than humans, our voices hardly ever feel heard.

We have become a market desperate for authenticity.

Agencies want their consumers to feel special without actually putting in the effort to build a genuine relationship. Simply coming across as genuine has become the new norm.

So we’ve adapted to be evasive and skeptical. After a long day, we find comfort in our favorite podcasts and TV shows because we are desperate to resonate with an authentic story.

So why can’t this be brought into advertising?

My team and I were recently tasked to find the human truth behind a porta potty company. I started out close minded, completely disengaged because I couldn’t imagine that there was any genuine drive behind this company. However, after we interviewed the workers, I was surprised by their passion. It wasn’t a passion for the porta potties, it was a passion for what the product did. It brought people together to festivals, events, and parks so they could enjoy nature and the company of others. Without having a second thought on sanitation, consumers can enjoy those moments for what they are. One worker even said that by helping bring people together, it gave his job purpose.

No matter how detailed or specific a story is, if it comes from a place of genuine authenticity, it will resonate with your audience. Not everyone can relate to working with toilets but they sure as hell can resonate with finding purpose in their work.

So, if you truly want your consumers to resonate with your brand don’t get caught in the noise. Sell your story instead. Something honest, personal and engaging. Something they can find comfort in after a long day. I can guarantee that out of 5,000 ads, this form of advertising would resonate the most.

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