Promo Foes: 8 Types Of Promo Colleague We all Despise and How To Deal With Them

There are plenty of supportive, intelligent promotional workers who look out for each other, mentor, give sound advice and coaching on the job, but many-a-time we will meet the complete opposite. We call these people “promo foes”. Here are 8 of the most common type of promo foe you’ll meet on the job, and how you may (with a little luck) be able to convert them into a promo friend.

Promo Foe – “An enemy or opponent who works in promotional marketing”




Promo foes can be driven by perfectionism, anxiety, a sense of not feeling good enough, a sense of anger, or a sense of entitlement – but in most cases you’ll never know what their problem is!

Here are the 8 types of promo foe to look out for, and how best to handle them.


Promo Foe 1: The Excluder

Sees you as oxygen thief  if there is no personal gain from communicating with you. They can pretend you don’t exist and fail to pass on important information.


The solution: Don’t chase about after them. The more you dance around trying to pander to their whims, the more they’ll probably ignore you. You will be able to get the minimum required communication by discussing the problem with a more senior team member/colleague.


Promo Foe 2: The Insecure

Micro-manages everyone, trusts no one, and thinks that no-one knows better than they do.


The solution: This type of promo foe is usually anxious and worried; this drives their perfectionism. They need regular updates to allay their fears, so keep them updated before they chase you. Keep to the job brief and be proactive on the job (or at least look like you are). Determine the type of outcomes/KPI’s needed, and reassure that deadlines/delivery/quality standard/success will be met. They have to nit pick, so the fewer criticisms the better and consider that as praise. Good luck!


Promo Foe 3: The Toxic

Errgh! This is a two-faced game-player who should never be trusted. They’ll suck up to you and be your best friend one minute, then gossip about you the next.


The solution: Keep your distance figuratively and literally. Physical closeness makes it easier for them to slime you, vampire your energy, and irritate you with their blackness. Refuse to gossip, refuse to let them whisper or mutter ambiguous statements, and call them out on it when they do. You’ll meet plenty of these types if you work long enough in promo that soon you’ll be accustomed to them – just don’t become one.


Promo Foe 5: The Narcissist

Is a self-serving ego-centric meanie who expects everyone to admire them. They don’t care about the good of the job or the client, only about looking good, and expects you to feed their ego.


The solution: Don’t expect much, if anything. If you need their advice on something it will probably be a feather in their cap, or an opportunity to bathe in the light. If they’re is denied applause and attention, prepare for a sulk. Things will take longer, so allocate a little more time when working with these types.


Promo Foe 6: The Screamer

Cries for attention, yells to intimidate, screams to insult, and then yells some more for good measure.


The solution: Two year olds in supermarkets do this. Notice the smart parents who stand away from the flailing limbs, breathe deeply, wait, or comfortably refuse to engage. There is no point trying to out-scream them – they’ll have more practice. If you can, leave. Humour may defuse the situation – but be careful not to insult. Keep your distance and stay close to a doorway – don’t allow them to box you in. Also check – are they rude and unaware? Some screamers have never been told about their unacceptable behaviour (because people are too afraid; they assume they must have been told but it doesn’t work; or they have slipped through performance review cracks for so long it doesn’t seem worth it). Sometimes, kind feeback can help. Remember, that level of anger usually hides hurt or resentment.


Promo Foe 7: The Liar

An all too common promo foe. This person has mastered the art of excuses, quick fibs, and charming manipulations.


The solution: Never trust them. Never be alone with them – they will twist whatever is said or done. They like the game, and usually escalate it. At some point they will have to go, but you may not wish to wait them out if you report directly to them.


Promo Foe 8: The Incompetent

Lacks knowledge, work ethic, and awareness. This type of promo foe will make you do the work for them or will take the credit for your work in order to make themselves look good.


The solution: Arrogance may be defensiveness or they simply ‘may not know what they don’t know’. They may be suspicious that any information or advice from you is to show them up or is a challenge rather than support, so get it across in a neutral way.

Well, that’s all! Here at Promo Work we tend to try and avoid making any promo foes 🙂 That’s why we’re free to all promotional staff, worldwide. Add your promotional resume today and let’s land some gigs!