My First Sponsored Post (But Actually Not)

I’ve never written a sponsored post. There’s a whole world of badass bloggers who are making a living writing about products and services and restaurants and hotels and all sorts of fabulously gifted items.

I’ve lacked diligence and focus to do so effectively.

I dipped my toe into that world by recently attending the “Dad 2.0” conference, an event where hundreds of dad bloggers from across the country came together to network, commiserate, and meet companies actively seeking bloggers to write sponsored posts.

I’ve found it intimidating to imbue my stories of everyday life with shout outs to Crest or Kia. I’m afraid I’d be disingenuous. It changes blogs, a lot. But before I get judgmental about it, the conference was all about “how to make money from your blog”.

And why not? Companies are desperate to find new ways to reach audiences.

In the Hulu and Instagram world, we try to avoid ads at all costs. But we are a nation of consumers. Buying stuff drives the American economy. And if industry can’t market to us, we don’t know what to consume.

Ads are vital to our economy and industry.

The fact that bloggers are now tools of marketers is a win-win. Bloggers have an audience that marketers need to reach. And the best bloggers still inform and entertain their readers, even with ads.

Anyway, at the Dad 2.0 summit, several companies were there to recruit writers and hand out swag. That was fun. Mini Lego sets of the Millenium Falcom from Lego, energy bars from Plum Organics, a pop-up barber shop sponsored by Dove Men, and Kia loaned cars to go for beignet runs (Dad2.0 was in New Orleans.)

One of the booths was Hanes. I was impressed that the first thing touted in their booth was their effort to reduce water waste in their factories, as well as incorporate recycled fibers into their underwear. Good for you, international-corporation-able-to-single-handedly-affect-climate-change-one-undy-at-a-time.

(They also solicited writers to take a trip to a National Park with their family and write about their experience. Yo, Hanes! Pick me! Pick me!)

Another booth sponsor was Clorox. They had a mock bathroom and kitchen and set up a “cleaning competition” where participants had to pick up plastic balls (like in a ball pit). The winner with the most points won a Visa (* not #ad) gift card as well as a $500 donation to the charity of their choosing.

While standing in line to “compete”, I started sweating because it felt like a commercial audition. As an actor, I loathe commercial auditions. So often casting directors say, “Just improv! Have fun with it!” And I start comparing myself to my audition competition (none of whom I’ve seen) and think about the actors who’ve invested their time and money in improv classes when I just wanna come in and read a card that says, “Buy this shit” and rush back to pick my kids up from school. I’m not that improv/commercial guy.

But at Dad 2.0, there weren’t a lot of actors. So I pulled out some easy fall-back gimmicks like physical comedy and a bump-n-grind in the midst of “cleaning up” my kitchen. It was cheap.

As they tallied my arbitrary points, Clorox gave me the quick schpiel on their current campaign to point out “a cleaner house leads to less stress, more focused kids, and healthier emotional and physical health.“

Such a link isn’t the first thing I think of when I buy Clorox items, but it really did make an impact on me.

And then, at the end of Dad2.0, I learned that I’d won. I felt like I’d cheated, but I won.

And I suddenly had $500 to donate to an organization of my choice? Sweet.

I felt like Clorox gave me keys to a kingdom. I thought of political groups (duh), campaign finance reform, protecting trans kids, etc.
And just a few short days later, Parkland happened.

Working to keep guns OUT of schools would be my cause. (At the very least. I mean – truth be told…I’d just get rid of guns, period. But I digress…)

I wrote my contact at Clorox hoping it wouldn’t be too “controversial” to give Clorox bucks to something slightly controversial and sadly political.

Clorox said: It’s entirely your call.

So I was honored to give $500 to the Sandy Hook Promise. I mean – an organization founded after the mass murder of 1st graders and kindergarteners wasn’t able to convince Congress to act, but it’s still trying to enact change.

And today, I heartily applaud the students from Stoneman Douglas and their activism in demanding that everyone, someone, ANYONE do something about guns in classrooms, the youthful purchase of assault rifles, bump stock sales and (not) arming teachers.

Clorox doesn’t have much of chance to, for instance, ban sales of guns to minors. (Thank you, Dick’s and Walmart!) But they are on a campaign to make people healthier by promoting cleanliness. I’m pretty sure they’d support limits on gun purchase, ownership and use. I won’t force them to take that stand.

But I will gladly use their money to further a cause helping keep children (and adults) safer and healthier. “Clean is the beginning. The rest is everything.” I’ll buy that.


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