So, I was heading into Oakland for dinner from San Francisco. Stuck in the typical traffic that sits between my home, Hayes Valley, and the Bay Bridge. The upside of this stretch of highway (where I’ve spent way too much time) is the Billboards. As a marketer, I’ve always wanted to be the brains behind a billboard that was witty, compelling, and honest.
Billboards in the Bay Area are a thing.
Before I continue on with my traffic story, I need to provide a little personal context/background. You can skip to the next section if you so desire.
Now that that’s said… let’s be real. At Charma, we are building a B2B software solution. We are not developing vaccines, putting humans on Mars or answering unanswerable questions… What is dark matter? Is there a 4th dimension? What happens after we die? Is there a God?
Personally, I keep this in mind for myself and I reinforce it to my reports regularly. If I see them overworking themselves there will be a quick conversation that goes like this:
Me: “Is what you can accomplish by working late tonight going to save a life?”
Direct Report: “No.”
Me: “Okay, great. Sign off at 5 today, hang out, recharge and we’ll tackle it together tomorrow.”
Okay now, back to the quest. I mean, the billboards. So, I’m stuck in traffic and I see this billboard, it’s triggering. And, not in a good way. I asked my husband what he thought it meant (he works at a B2B identity management software company). He had no idea.
WTF? What is this even supposed to mean? Is launching into deep space part of your Q1 plan? Is putting your Q1 Plan into monday.com’s software going to catapult you into deep space?
When I see B2B campaigns that are honestly and truly just not good. Too vague. Too much like something that an AI copywriting tool would come up with. I get a little annoyed. You should at least try, right? At least be honest if not witty or inspirational?
Aside from the fact that the messaging and imagery is a stretch, it’s also a dangerous message. This is way more important and, the reason I’m taking time to put my thoughts down.
Should we want to work without limits? Haven’t so many people been pushed to their limit over the past few years? Is it right to lean into the workaholic culture that is deeply penetrated into our society, especially in the Bay Area?
Ironically, when I realized that it was a part of a big superbowl buy, it unlocked my B2B creativity.
I believe very strongly that work should have limits. It has taken me a while to appreciate this (Hi, I’m Marlo, recovering workaholic). It’s okay to feel fulfilled in your career if you’re not saving the world. And, it’s also okay to live a life without limits that isn’t all about work. If your work and your life’s purpose are the same thing, that’s amazing. However, that’s not the case for everyone. Even if that’s true for you, work should still have limits.
Personally, I don’t know my life purpose yet, I don’t think it’s being a B2B marketer. But, I do think that the amazing people I get to work with, the intellectual exercise my brain gets every day, and the opportunities my career has opened to me are invaluable in my journey to figure that out. It’s okay to love what you do without it being your purpose in life. And guess what? If that’s the case for you — you can still be really amazing at your job without it defining your life. So, if you’ve been pretending for a while, feel free to let that go.
So, that’s why I am launching a counter to Monday’s Superbowl campaign.
Because working without limits is an unhealthy message to send out into a population that is worked to its limit. I’m lucky that Charma’s purpose and my opinions are aligned (at least I hope they are haha). I don’t know that I’ve nailed this campaign in concept or execution. I don’t have comparable resources to reach the same audience Monday.com can. But, if you catch wind of this and agree with me, share it. As a seed stage startup, punching above my weight class is working against me. So, I need your help. If even one person ties it back to Monday.com’s Superbowl ads… and laughs, that would be a win.
My thoughts are my own, reach out if you have any feedback, I’d love to hear it. In the meantime, get out into the world. Do one thing today (or this week) that makes you feel wonder and awe. Because. Work. Should. Have. Limits.
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