Helping Photographers Understand the HOWS & WHYS behind Great Photography

What is a Promotional Model?


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Companies use promotional models to actually put their product in the hands of the consumer. Promotional models aren’t known for being in front of the camera.

Promotional models can be found at sporting events, bars and nightclubs, retail stores, car shows and booths set up at fairs, concerts and major public events.

Promotional models, like print models, need to be attractive and they need to have outgoing and engaging personalities. Good public speaking skills are essential for this type of work.

Sometimes referred to as brand ambassadors, event models, or spokesmodels, this type of modeling is referred to as event marketing.

Event marketing is used for everything from bubble gum to potato chips, from soda to beers and wines, from toilet paper to cable TV, and from video games to automobiles. It is a proven and effective marketing technique that lets consumers sample the product in a no-pressure environment.

You have probably seen or met promotional models and didn’t realize that they were models at all. You can often find promotional models handing out snack samples in front of sport stadiums and arenas. You can find promotional models giving out samples of beauty products and lotions at retail stores. You will frequently find cable TV and mobile phone companies with booths of surprisingly attractive people that want to talk to you about their service – YES these are generally promotional models with a few actual salespeople mixed in.

Almost anyone over the age of 18 can be a promotional model. You can even walk into a Wal-Mart on a Saturday morning and often find senior citizens working as promotional models handing out samples of beauty products. Retail promotions like these routinely pay anywhere from $15 to $25.00 per hour.

Beer and liquor promotions up the pay scale to generally anywhere from $20.00 to $40.00 per hour. You do, of course, have to be over the minimum drinking age (usually 21) to be able to work these types of promos. If you have ever been to a bar or nightclub on a night when they are sponsoring a Miller Light special, at some point during the evening a group of promotional models wearing Miller Light t-shirts will arrive at the venue and buy a round of drinks for the bar. They will also frequently organize a bunch of fun games and give away prizes. The goal is to get people to try the beer and feel good about the brand. These beer and liquor promotions almost always happen during evening hours from Wednesday through Sunday, hence they are a great part-time job for college students, because the work doesn’t interfere with classes.

If you attend a convention or trade show, you will frequently find promotional models staffing booths and handing out samples or trinkets to passers by. Depending on the type of trade show, you will sometimes see booth babes. The name booth babe is a slang term that has been given to the attractive young women who are frequently scantily clad and who’s entire job is to draw attention to the booth that she is working at.

Trade show and convention gigs can pay anywhere from $20 per hour to day rates of up to a thousand dollars depending on the show. Medical and pharmaceutical conventions and trade shows tend to be the highest paying and sometimes require a day of paid training before the event.

The highest paid category of promotional modeling is generally the Auto Show spokesmodels. These men and women (who must be aged 21 or over) generally work 5 – 6 months out of the year (from late December to mid May) and travel the country on the Auto Show circuit where the major car manufacturers show off their new and concept cars for the year.

If you have ever been to an Auto Show in your city, you have seen that every half an hour or so, a young man or woman will show up with a microphone and give a 10 to 15 minute talk / demonstration about the new car model, and then they will usually make themselves available to answer questions about the car.

The Auto Show Spokesmodels are hired by the auto manufacturers. The auto companies also pay for all of their travel and hotel expenses and often provide a food stipend and wardrobe for the duration of the gig.

This type of work can pay anywhere from $20,000 to $35,000 for the five to six month gig.

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