№1 — The Simple, “Proud and Humbled”
The Proud and Humbled is the classic humblebrag and should accompany a link to the award announcement with a headline like, “Proud and humbled to be honored on Campaign US’ Magazine’s 40 over 40 lists.” Variations include the “Surprised and Honored,” “Stunned but Thrilled. ” It’s, of course, also customary to post your humblebrag along with a picture from ten plus years ago creating the misimpression that you are not only successful but also aging better than your colleagues. The beauty of the “Proud and Humbled” is the way it fits perfectly with the advertising industry’s ethos of being just barely half true. Because if you were actually humbled, you wouldn’t post anything at all.
№2 — The Self-Promotion with a Side of Suck-Up
This technique takes the simple “Proud and Humbled” a step further by also stroking the ego of a co-honoree who might further your career at some future date. If, for example, you’re the founder of a small, independent ad agency and would like nothing more than to get bought by a larger firm for gobs of money, switch up the wording a bit and suck-up to specific co-honorees with something like, “Proud and humbled to be honored on Campaign US’ 40 over 40 lists, along with some of our industry’s greatest talents, including Kim Getty at Deutsch, Jason Harris at Mekanism, and Susie Nam at Droga5.” Alternately, use the opportunity to brown-nose a potential new client with: “Proud and humbled, to be honored by Campaign US’ 40 over 40 lists, alongside Stacy Taffet, VP of PepsiCo’s Water Portfolio.
№3 — Force Your Employees to announce It For You
Worried you’ll sound like a douche bag tooting your own horn? It’s easy to circumnavigate this problem and still get the publicity you crave and let’s face it, you deserve. As the boss, you can subtly suggest to your direct reports to use their social media feeds to promote your not-quite a Pulitzer accomplishment. (This method works particularly well during a pandemic when employees are scared shitless about losing their job.)
№4 — Pay an influencer
Why just force your employees to humblebrag for you when you can get complete strangers to do it for you? All you need is a few dollars and a true commitment to your ego. There are plenty of advertising blogs that would love to tell their readers about the Campaign US’, 40 over 40 honorees list and every one of them will improve your SEO by adding backlinks and will give you an additional humblebrag opportunity to use your, “Thanks for the mention” humblebrag technique. Or, you could experiment with sites like Grin, Brandbassador, or Instagram and pay influencers to Tweet about you for a few thousand dollars. Ultimately, isn’t it really a fraction of what it probably costs you in entry fees to “win” your award to begin with?
№5 Write a Self-Deprecating Blog Post to Mask Your True Intent
If you’re the founder of a small, ad agency and digital content studio, you could simply write a blog post about the art of the humblebrag never mentioning the fact that you are the one who has been chosen as a 2020 Campaign US 40 over 40 Honoree. If you go this route, it is important to wait until the very end of the blog post to combine all the techniques into one final line that says something like, “Hell yes, it’s about friggin time I got some recognition, Kim, Jason, Susie, we’re good and for sale. Stacy, how about a project? And everyone at the Division of Labor, feel free to repost this blog, or you’re fired. And Campaign US, how about you post this? Do it and we’ll send you a deli basket from Zabars.”