Troy House’s Newspaper Promo
“Photographers hate it when we hear an art director shot their own job, but why are we art directing our own promos?” Troy House posed this valid rhetorical question as he and I were discussing his recent newspaper promo, which I received a couple of weeks ago. House hired a copywriter and art director to help him put together a newspaper that told stories behind a series of images he made for a single campaign. The copywriter was a member of the client team on the shoot, so he was able to write short stories from House’s perspective, and, House says, he remembered a lot of details the photographer hadn’t.
House wanted his personality to come through in the promo. He’s hired for big travel jobs, he says, and when a client’s going to spend 30 days with a photographer, personality matters. “They want to know about you,” House says. The promo is funny and self-effacing, and shows House’s commitment to his work. One headline, attached to a photo of people on a roller coaster reads: “Man Rides Roller Coaster 41 Times in Drag.” House wanted clients to understand that if they hire him, “we’re going to have a great time and do great photos,” he says.
House printed 10 thousand copies of the newspaper, mailed seven thousand, and has been using the others as leave behinds. He’s also dropping stacks in coffee shops near the offices of ad agencies, guerrilla marketing style. Thus far he’s received 50 emails from recipients of the paper, he says, more than he’s received as the result of promos in 18 previous years in the business combined. House says he’ll never try to art direct his own promo again.