You may recognize Vanessa Branch as the blonde beauty with a glistening smile, frequently reminding you to clean up your dirty mouth. As the face of Orbit gum, Branch has played a part in one of the most iconic ad campaigns of the 21st century, and become a familiar face to all those with television sets and the ability not to fast forward through commercials. As a judge on Model Employee, she’s taken the knowledge acquired through her work with major brands, as well as her experience acting in projects like The Pirates of the Caribbean, LOST, and Entourage, and set out to evaluate the skill sets of a new generation of aspiring brand ambassadors.
VH1 chatted with the Orbit lady about her career, her thoughts on the most effective methods of advertising, and how it feels to make beautiful women chop up rat heads.
What was your first thought when you were approached with the idea of being on Model Employee?
What I liked about ME was that it asked women to have a voice and not just be pretty faces. I was sold from that point forward.
What’s the most important quality one needs to be a good brand ambassador?
There are two: being articulate and intelligent, because to convey any type of message you have to be able to convey it clearly. If you sound like an idiot people are not going to listen to what you have to say. The second is being a good person. What they are showing on the show is real–you really do go and work with the company who sells the gum, you meet the clients, and you go to conventions with 5,000 people. Lots of times you are going to have incredibly long days talking to all sorts of strangers you’ve never met, and there needs to be a real genuine interest there.
And how important is it to believe in the brand you’re working with?
You can be a good actor about it if you have to be, but I wouldn’t want to work for a company that I didn’t believe in at all–I wouldn’t be able to do it. That’s probably a personal choice, but for me with Orbit, I genuinely chew the gum constantly.
Is there any industry you wouldn’t want to work in?
Smoking. To me it depends on the company itself–it depends on how it’s run on the inside. You can have something squeaky clean like a gum company, but they are horrible to their employees.