It happened in a Chili’s. Not exactly the coolest place to have an epiphany, but the truth isn’t always so glamourous.
As I waited for the fajitas to arrive, my mom excused herself to the restroom. Now this was before I could just bury my face in a smartphone for the few minutes I sat alone, so my options for reading material included the back of a ketchup bottle and coasters. I chose the latter. Without much thought, I picked up the little condensation catcher, which said, “You’re only reading this because your friend is in the bathroom.”
What a brilliant piece of funny. But more than that – it was so utterly pertinent. Dammit, I was reading it because my friend was in the bathroom. I’d bet most people don’t pay much attention to coasters unless they’re sitting alone (or would rather be, instead of trapped on a terrible date) with nothing better to occupy their time. And the writer who penned this clever little line knew just that.
And that’s the thing about great advertising. It’s not just about being funny – though, it never hurts. It’s about understanding the human condition. Because when you relate to your audience on a personal level, they’ll listen. Advertising isn’t about exposition. It’s about engagement. It’s about empathy. When it’s good, it can make you laugh. And when it’s great, it can make you change your career path. Which is how I ended up a writer instead of an aspiring actress with absolutely no acting chops.
Anyway, that might have been the most inspiring, life-altering thing to ever happen in a Chili’s. Aside from discovering I don’t like fajitas.