Go-to girl

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Leigh Householder has become an in-demand figure for companies trying to get hip to new trends in advertising and social media. Now the Ologie employee and keeper of the popular AdverGirl blog shares her thoughts on Columbus, marketing and that weird ship anchored Downtown.

Name: Leigh Householder

Age: 33

Job: Assistant strategy director, Ologie

Neighborhood: Merion Village

Hometown: Pittsburgh

Alma mater: Ohio University

Web: leighhouse.typepad.com/advergirl

The main reason I moved from Chicago to Columbus is when I was in college I drove up to Columbus all the time and had great memories. I just remember being really happy here - feeling confident and happy, like this was the place I could know and be known.

Hitchhiking is fine in college. I was in Athens. It's a safe community. Usually I could get a real ride halfway and pick up from there.

When I first moved back, I rode my bike Downtown to the Scioto waterfront and I saw the Santa Maria. I fell off my bike. It was so bizarre to see that boat sitting in the middle of the city.

One thing I've noticed here is the groundswell of pride taking on the old guard of self-deprecation. It's a great environment to live in, because there's so much change happening so quickly.

My favorite place in town is I-670 west at rush hour in the fall, because you're driving toward the sunset and the Wonder Bread factory puts out that delightful, yeasty, fresh-bread smell. It's heavenly.

My favorite local shop is Substance. I think it's incredibly generous of me to keep going there, though. I tried on this dress that was 100-percent cotton - but not stretch cotton. I got stuck in it. I eventually had to poke my head out of the dressing room and have the owner come in and help me get that darn dress off.

The owner said this happens all the time, which is bizarre to think about. America's dressing rooms are choked with women trapped inside dresses, merely waiting for customer assistance to get out of them. [Laughs.]

For the first several years of my blog, I had national readership and agencies all around the country who contacted me, but I never met anyone at a party who said, "I read AdverGirl." That happens all the time now. It's nice to connect what I do online with where I live.

When speaking to college classes, every student in the room probably knows more about social media than I do. I like speaking to the more established professional organizations where I can still surprise them.

If you're about to start a blog, pick something that you're passionate about and stick to it. People who write about their cat one day and, you know, global politics the next day end up with a readership limited to their mother and their arch-enemy from high school.

One of the most ridiculous examples of social media is KittenWar.com. Everybody uploads photos of their cats. They're paired one-on-one. And you can sit there for hours and click which one's cuter. I've got to admit: I've lost hours of my life to Kitten War.

If I were in charge of branding the city, I would talk about Columbus being a creative city, a creative hub. Whether you're in the Short North or the North Market - even if you're in the 'Shoe - you're rubbing elbows with artists and creative people.

Running into people I know walking down Third Street gives a sense of camaraderie and shared place. There's a vibe in that of recognition and simple happiness that I think is an aspiration that towns larger than us look toward but can't deliver.