You Need More Than a Town Crier

Tony Appleton. Photo: AFP/Getty Image

Tony Appleton. Photo: AFP/Getty Image

No matter how much you know about advertising and marketing, there are some basic principles that I am sure we all can agree are common knowledge - the more you advertise, the more attention your brand gets, and the more attention your brand gets, the more your brand should succeed.  That’s right, I said, “should.”  Though a lot of people believe that grabbing a consumer’s attention always equals success, this is simply not true.  Just getting people’s attention (being “loud”) has never really guaranteed long-term success and today, a lot of times it doesn’t even guarantee short-term success.  Today’s consumer is a very educated consumer, and they can see through your tricks and gimmicks faster than ever.

Many businesses today believe that you simply need to hire an advertising agency that will put you everywhere - make you a LOUD voice in the marketplace.  The problem with this (what I call the Town Crier Mentality) is that there are tons of businesses that are "noisy" today, and the consumer is so inundated with all of this noise that they choose to simply ignore it and in turn, your brand.  What many advertising agencies and companies overlook today is that even in ye days as olde as time (old British man accent implied), people understood the basic principle of getting the word out (advertising/marketing) to help their brand/cause (royal proclamation, local bylaws, market days, adverts, selling loaves of sugar, etc.) wasn’t always about being the loudest voice. When you look deeper at what the most successful town criers really did, you see that even back then being “loud” wasn’t enough to equal brand success.  With all this in mind, here are three reasons why your brand needs more than just a town crier:


No, I’m not telling you to go hire Rocky Balboa to hold a box of Wheaties and sing Queen’s “We Are the Champions” in front of your business.  Though, if you have the marketing budget for such a stunt, I think it would get you a lot of initial attention, but saying a stunt like this alone would drive success is like saying the elaborate attire of the town crier (town criers wore red and gold coat, black boots, a tricorne hat, and white breeches – trust me, anything with the word breeches in it is elaborate) was enough to equal success.  The town crier had to be memorable with his words, because a lot of people weren't around to hear his proclamations.  Therefore, he would have to rely on others to spread the news (champion his advertising).    

What this means to you is that it is one thing if you are telling people how terrific your business is, but it is completely different and more beneficial thing for others to comment about how great your business is.  Call them referrals, endorsements, or just good word of mouth, what matters is that these people are acting as a champion for your business, and you need them to grow your brand.  These champions are taking your theoretical banner and proudly waving it to the masses.  The great thing about this is that the more people who are championing your business, the more people pay attention to the work you are doing (long-term brand success).  That’s why shares and likes are so important on social media, because not only does it reach more people, but it shows others that people are enjoying your brand and your brand’s offerings. 

Recruiting and winning over champions for your brand is where advertising and marketing come into play.  We work as a paid champion of your business, your product, or your individual talent.  Our job is to not only be “loud” but to do so in such an effective way that people have no other option than to pay attention.  We achieve this today, not by ringing a large bell and screaming, “Hear ye!  Hear ye!” into people’s ears, but by engaging the audience on as many platforms as possible (television, radio, social media, print advertising, etc.).  We invent interesting, creative content that in turn sells your product, and then we figure out the best way to deliver that content to the masses.    


No matter how loud a town crier was, eventually people would tune them out if they weren't interesting.  When this point was reached, the town crier wasn’t effectively doing his job and was relieved of his duties.  The way that a good town crier would keep his position was that he would deliver his updates in an interesting and informative way.  This is no different today.  Captivating people with the delivery of creative advertising content is even more crucial today than it has ever been, because people can tune you out a lot easier than in times past (DVR, mute button, change the channel, click on a different webpage, etc.).  That is why when you are looking to hire an advertising agency, don’t just look for one who can throw together a marketing plan, look for one that is firmly entrenched in solid creative strategy and has the creative minds to back-up this strategy.  The best agencies are the ones that can tell interesting stories, and their work not only informs but entertains the audience. 

To further clarify this strategy, when I was a school teacher, I always tried to make my students laugh as we were talking about the scholastic subjects at hand.  People would often ask me why I did this, and my response was always, “When a student goes home and their parent asks them what they learned about in school today, they will almost always say, ‘I don’t know.’  However, when a parent asks if anything interesting happened at school today, they will automatically think of the things they laughed about in my class.  When this laughter is pasted together with learning, they have no other option than to discuss what they learned."  Think of it as "accidental, comedic osmosis.”  This same accidental osmosis works in the world of advertising.  You can’t have too much comedy or drama in your advertising, people forget about your product, and you can’t have too much product, people get too bored.  So, when finding an advertising agency, look for one that is able to balance the two in an effective manner.  In today’s market, without that balance, you are just wasting your marketing budget.


Being different is possibly the hardest thing for companies to achieve today, but when done correctly, it is so instrumental to an effective advertising campaign.  Now, when I say to be different, I’m not just talking about being different for being different’s sake.  I’m talking about using your company’s uniqueness to your advantage.  For instance, why do you think the town crier dressed the elaborate way that he did?  Because they liked looking like the love child of George Washington and Jack Nicholson in The Shining?  No, they needed to stand out in the crowd to signify the importance of the information they were about to deliver in quick and effective manner.  The same thing happens today, :15 or :30 seconds isn’t very long to have someone’s attention, but if what you are saying in that :15 or 30 seconds gets the consumer’s brains working then you have captured their attention and most likely their business.

When working with an advertising agency, you need to work with an agency that will help you stand out in what is a very, very crowded advertising market (imagine 20 elaborately dressed town criers all reading at the same time – that’s the noise you are competing with).  It is not hard to see that almost every single second of every single day, people are overwhelmed with buy, buy, BUY!  What are you doing to be different?  Are you just screaming in people’s ears hoping that they will listen, or are you using your marketing dollars to create meaningful advertising that lasts in people’s minds long after the noise has died down? 

If you are ready to move past this Town Crier Mentality and advertise effectively, intelligently, and creatively, then it is time to contact our company.  Still, don’t just take my word for it.  Here are some of the kind words I have received from people who are proudly championing the Nathan Marshall banner:

"Have a conversation with Nathan. It's seriously an eye opening experience. He talked, acted and worked as a professional with years of experience. He doesn't brag so you probably wouldn't know that he's an accomplished comedian, actor, and teacher. It shows in his work and his range. It was awesome seeing his mind work. And the work speaks for itself." - Morgan Copeland, Content Strategist, BRUNNER

"This guy. He does/has done everything. From a creative perspective, I'm not sure there's much more you ask for - he's directed films, recorded an album, does standup and improv comedy, and is a SAG-certified actor. He was a teacher, a playwright, and a copywriter. When you hear people talk about the benefits of "Generation Flux," he's the poster child. That diverse experience not only makes a great guy to have a conversation with, but is also a huge asset to a marketing agency. He has demonstrated the ability to step into any situation and quickly identify 5 different creative ideas that no one else in the room has thought of yet. He's been a real asset to Brunner and will continue to be an asset to the advertising industry throughout the rest of his career." - Steve Radick, VP, Director of Public Relations and Content Integration

"Actor. Musician. Comedian. Director. Editor. Thinker. Presenter. Teacher. Student. Sponge. Volunteer. Nathan is hard to pigeonhole. But he is exactly the kind of person companies in the business of communication should hire. A content creator." - Rob Schapiro, Chief Creative Officer, BRUNNER

"His writing, of course, shows thoughtfulness. His presentation skills prove him as confident yet approachable. And quite frankly, he’s also just a really good person who’d be a seamless fit to any team.  Make the smart choice by going with Nathan. You will be so happy you did." - Andy McKenna, VP/Creative Director, BRUNNER

"He showed great poise, confidence and personality.  His presentation skills are enviable.  During the time he worked with us Nathan proved himself to be adaptable, appreciative of every opportunity and with a drive for over-delivery.  I believe Nathan would apply his skills and enthusiasm to any organization." - Kim Tarasi, VP, Director of Creative Operations, BRUNNER

"Nathan Marshall did a great job, not just with these commercials, but with all of the work they have put in towards helping the Wellsburg church of Christ update its image.  'Rebranding' might sound like a weird concept, but a fresh look can greatly help get your name out there!" - Jarred Currence, Evangelist of the Wellsburg church of Christ

"Our experience with Nathan has been excellent. Any problems that arise while updating our website, he worked quickly and efficiently to solve the problems. I would recommend anyone looking to do a new website , flyers for an event or any marketing and advertising to check with him. A+" - Chuck Isinghood, Elder of the Wellsburg church of Christ

"Nathan Marshall helped make our newest marketing campaign a reality with our "Dream Car, TEAM Car" commercial. He made the whole process easy. Plus, we're getting a great response from this commercial. We're excited to work with Nathan for future commercials." - TEAM Automotive Group

"The University I represent hired Nathan Marshall to create a promotional video. I shot the video with a simple HD (allegedly) camcorder and a live audio microphone. The footage was fair at best. Nathan took that footage and made the best product I could have imagined. It was hard to believe that they were able to take such amateur footage and create something of such high quality. Additionally, they were able to meet our budget needs with an unbelievably reasonable price. I highly recommend him." - Jeff Weisberger, Director of Admissions of American University of St. Vincent

"Thank you so much for the awesome work you did for me!  I am very happy with it, and I am thankful that you went above and beyond my expectations for the project. You were timely and your creativity helped me express the concept better than I expected.  I am excited to see what the future holds for Nathan!!  Keep up the terrific work!!" - Mike Florak, Founder of the C.A.A.S.E. Program

"Nathan did an excellent job on our logo. It looks great on our Twitter account and has been very easy to incorporate in to our correspondence and website as well." - Dan Wilson, President of the Ohio Valley Vets

“Nathan did phenomenal work at the Port-sponsored October 15 Downtown Summit last year, providing a sleek and creative design for the invitations, as well as participating in the event itself. They were a true pleasure to work with and we are grateful for their generous contribution toward future economic development in the City of Steubenville and Jefferson County. A definite five stars!” - Evan Scuti, Executive Director of the Jefferson County Port Authority

"Nathan and his team could not have been easier to work with!! They took a very vague concept that I had and turned it into a design that was exactly what I wanted! You couldn't ask for a more talented group of people to satisfy all your marketing needs!"  - Trevor DeVore, Owner of Devore Quality Development, LLC