More and more, it seems like I am hired to create content for Instagram and then the blog readers (are there blog readers out there who don’t check Instagram?) don’t get to see everything we are up to. Most of the time, I’m not required to share sponsored stuff across platforms, so I just post on Instagram and be done with it.

BUT, sometimes, I’m really proud of something and want to share.

Like this peanut butter ad that Harlow and I made for Jif’s new Squeeze pouches. First of all, I love peanut butter and squeeze pouches full of the stuff are pretty genius. Secondly, Jif is safe for dogs and the new pouches make it really easy to squeeze peanut butter into one of those rubber toys. I mean, it’s a game changer. We used to have two separate jars of peanut butter for humans and Frankie because I was afraid of cross contamination. No more! And lastly, I worked really hard on this video and am super proud of it!

Check it out:


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A post shared by Ilana Wiles (@mommyshorts)

When I posted the Jif video on Instagram last Friday, so many people said it looked like a real commercial that could be on TV. I had to laugh because that’s what I did before I had kids! I was a creative director at an ad agency and made real commercials for big brands like Diet Coke and Oreo. I was pretty good at it.

Although, I mainly came up with the ideas and then had a massive team who would help me execute— directors, producers, editors, DPs (aka the camera people), production assistants, actors, stylists, hair and makeup, food prep, food styling, location scouts, set construction, prop makers, storyboard artists, gaffers, grips, video assist operators, boom operators, sound design, color correctors, music composers, etc. etc. You would be shocked to see how many people are involved in getting a 30 second commercial on the air. And the budgets! I worked on one ad that cost about a million dollars. I even had a super bowl commercial once!

Anyway, while I was filming that Jif video, I almost had a breakdown because I was trying to do everything myself. Filming, directing, acting (which involves hair and make-up!), directing Mazzy how to film while I was acting (did I mention that she filmed the parts that I was in?), food prep, working with the lighting challenges in our kitchen that kept changing the longer the shoot took, and trying to figure out if the pieces edited together correctly in real time.

Finally, I realized that I could not possibly do as good of a job as I did when I had a ton of professionals working on everything and had to give myself a break. I was so relieved when I edited it together and it all worked out. Not perfect by a long shot, but there was something great how it looked homemade. Harlow was amazing and had so much fun making it, which helped a lot.

The response to the video was amazing. The best response I have ever gotten to a piece of sponsored content. I was really excited to post the finished video, and seeing the likes and comments roll in gave this ex-agency creative (who only started my blog because I got laid off right after my maternity leave) a lot of pride and satisfaction. I realized that while many moms in the online parenting space have special skills like cooking, crafting, home design, and homeschooling, my special skill is advertising. That’s the background that I bring to the table and that’s why I enjoy doing sponsored content so much. 

FYI, I would not change one part of the professional journey that landed me where I am now. And I feel very thankful to have a supportive online community who appreciates the hard work.