Hey Mike! Marketing Is Also About the Make-Up

Yesterday, I received an email from a reader, Mike, who asked why I would put a picture on my blog that displays me as dark-haired, fit and trim when – in reality – I’m graying and overweight. Ironically, the picture you see on my blog is me about 5 years ago. I’ve gained a few pounds and my hair is more gray, but it’s me there.

doug sethOn my about page, you’ll find a picture of me meeting Seth Godin. The picture in my header has me in the same suit as the suit I’m wearing in the picture with Seth. It’s my favorite suit and I still wear it. I’ve never had it tailored, but I do find my belly is leaning over my belt much more than it ever has.

In the last month I’ve been motivated to drop some pounds and have dropped 10 pounds. In all honesty, I could stand to lose 100 pounds. I’m definitely obese – the results of a lifestyle of no exercise and too much food.

Anyways, I was startled by Mike’s email but felt compelled to answer it. The purpose of my picture in my header is not to find the most horrid picture I can find and post it there to scare away people. It’s a picture that I like. I am, in fact, recognizable in the picture (it’s not THAT long ago) and people come up to me every so often to let me know that they read my blog.

The picture is doing its job… it’s putting a welcoming face to my blog and showing folks that there’s a real person behind it.

Pamela Anderson without Makeup Have you ever seen Pamela Anderson without make-up? Does anyone go up to Pamela and tell her that she’s ‘lying’ to people because she looks so much better with pounds of make-up on? Of course not! And her only skill is to look good.

My job isn’t to be a male model or actor. My job is to work within the marketing and technology fields and share that information with my blog’s readers. If you think I’m somehow doing anyone a disservice or being dishonest by taking a nice corporate glamor shot of myself and posting it in my header… get a life.

Mike, you must be the same guy that sends his hamburger back because it doesn’t look like the commercial. Have you written Tom Cruise yet to let him know he should look as short as he is in his movies? Next time you decide to contact me through my contact form, man up and use a real email address. I wrote the email address you passed me and it bounced.

PS: I’m not wearing any make-up in the header picture. 🙂


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    After reading through this post I felt compelled to comment on it. Studying public relations has given me an interesting perspective on the old adage ?perception is reality and must be managed.? I find it fascinating how many people there are – like reader Mike – who are either unaware that this phenomenon exists, or are otherwise completely scandalized by it. I think your argument supporting this as an acceptable practice was very well crafted. It is indeed nice to see a welcoming face at the top of your blog and not at all beyond the scope of reason or morality to see why you would choose a younger, more ?welcoming? looking face to present to the public. The Pamela Anderson bit was both fascinating and comical. This was the first time I?d ever seen Pam without her makeup ? man, I feel so? lied to! I am sure nobody (other than Mike of course) begrudges you your corporate glamour shot. I for one am quite happy that you chose to post it and even more so that Mike decided to call you on it, without people like Mike, we would never have had the pleasure of that witty retort of yours. After all, not only is marketing ?also about the makeup,? it?s also about the ability to deflect the occasional stab of negativity in a manner that is both professional and at the same time witty and creative enough to sway the public to your side. Well done.

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    Ouch Doug, falling prey to trolls that aren’t even posting comments? I wish you luck losing the weight. One of your former collegues, Dan W., continues to silently drop pounds and I hope you can do the same.

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    Congrats on the 10 pounds, Doug, and good luck with the future exercise regime. I’m one of those lucky ones, blessed with a high metabolism, but I’m sure that’ll drop soon enough, as I reach my 30s.

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    Good job Doug for dropping some weight. It’s so easy to put on the pounds and so hard to get them off.

    However, I am concerned that you would call someone out like this in a public post.

    This person Mike contacted you, in private, to bring something up and because it “startled” you, that makes it worthy of a post?

    What other private emails do you receive and turn into posts? maybe you need a privacy policy on your site?

    One of your comments above from Patrick Farrell says “falling prey to trolls that aren?t even posting comments” but I don’t see how a private email is considered being a troll.

    Obviously Mike brought up a valid point and you addressed it within this post.

    I do agree it’s a little misleading having an older picture as your header. I also agree with why you did it though.

    However, what if someone wants to hire you for a talk or presentation and they think they’re getting the guy from your header, then when you show up and look different?

    At any rate, good job on dropping weight. Doing daily walks and drinking a lot of water will help.

    Also, portion control too. I know it’s hard but you seem like a dedicated person. You can do it. Your readers have faith in you.

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      Hm. This is the post I was trying to comment on, but wasn’t able. Now, I’m glad for that because it gives me the opportunity to see what others had to say.

      I don’t think you look much different in person than in your header photo. It is a “headshot” after all, and we always look slightly different when you add the whole package together. What do they want you to do? Post a full body picture of you in the header? Now THAT would certainly contribute to the knowledge and education we get from your site, don’t you think? (insert roll of eyes and “julie” sarcasm here) I always choose what blogs to read based on whether or not I can get an accurate image of the blogger.

      I emphatically disagree with the statement that your older picture is misleading, especially when being hired to speak or give a presentation. You actually provide those services for my organization and I have to say that everyone is always in awe of the massive amount they learn from you. No one is concerned with your physical appearance (as long as you shower and dress, I’m sure).

      As a personal friend and business colleague I say keep your picture in the header as is and give it not another thought. It represents your jovial smile and sincere kindness; your words and posts represent your intelligence and vast information gathering and disseminating skills.

      Grr. This subject has really “got my hackles up”. Congrats on the weight loss and keep it up, though! We want you to be as healthy as you can possibly be. I can’t imagine what kind of dynamo you would be like with more energy…..watch out world……


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    Wow – everyone has their own opinion about this post and that is what comments are for. I personally think that it was a good idea to post this. It was an eye-opener for me to realize that it is important to put up a picutre of yourself that looks good. Of course, you don’t want a picture that makes you unrecognizable, but in this case, you didn’t. Thanks for pointing out this marketing concept to us all.

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