Category Archives: Marketing gone bad

I usually just ignore these but tonight I was bored.

Actual pitch I just got:

Hi Jenny,

Would you be interested in recipes from baby food creators on how to include your child in their first holiday meal?

My return email:

Weirdly enough, we’ve actually been feeding holiday meals to our child for the last eight years, but I will pass this on to any of my friends who ritually starve their children during Christmas.

So far, no response.

 

UPDATED: And then the PR guy called me “a fucking bitch”. I can’t even make this shit up.

SEE UPDATES BELOW…

I know I just posted a few hours ago, but I’m posting again because you all know how dedicated I am to writing about PR pitches (both good and bad) and this one just can’t wait.  I got a form letter email pitch (more than one, actually) about a Kardashian sister being spotted in pantyhose.

Actual line from email:

“The Kardashian’s once again show they are right on trend, and this is on (sic) Mommy’s are all going to want to follow.”

As I do with all unsolicited form-letters about celebrities-doing-shit-no-one-cares-about, I replied with my usual, simple response:

me: And here’s a picture of Wil Wheaton collating.

I got a response from the woman who sent the original email:

Hi there,
That wasn’t very nice. We send certain pitches out to people so they have the chance of getting more hits on their page. We’ll make note of this email in moving forward and remember if we have any advertising opportunities with any of our clients not to go through you.
Best of luck to you.
Best,
Erica

That sort of email might be threatening to a blogger who makes a living by getting advertisers who go through PR companies, but I’m not, and (as far as I know) neither are most people.  For the most part, my blog is supported by people.  People who are bloggers.  This becomes relevant soon.

I wasn’t going to respond, as she did have a point, but then a VP of the company (Jose) hit “reply all”.  With me on the reply-all.

Jose:  “What a fucking bitch!”

Wow.  I sort of felt bad for the guy (as I’ve accidentally fallen victim to the reply-all trap as well) and I considered just cowing down and remaining quietly chastened by this man, but then I remembered that this isn’t the 18th century and that I’ve never taken a high road in my entire life.

My response:

Hi. This is sort of why “reply all” doesn’t usually work well for
companies. Unless, of course, you decided that “What a fucking bitch” was
a great response from a public relations company. Personally, I preferred
the “Best of luck to you” one, which was much more honest and cutting,
while still being professional.

If you’ve read my blog you would know that a great deal of my blog deals
with the importance of public relations companies doing research before
sending form letters to bloggers. Specifically, I’m very vocal about
ridiculous pitches involving celebrities using products. So much so that
I made that actual Wil Wheaton collating paper page to combat this very
sort of thing in a quick and painless way. My blog has nothing to do with
fashion, the Kardashians or pantyhose…none of which I understand, to be
honest. Plus, you’ve sent me this form letter TWICE today. I only point
this out so you can delete this *ahem* “fucking bitch” from all of the
mailing lists you have me on, rather than just one.

Also, I apologize if you were offended by my email. Honestly, I’ve been
sending that thing out to PR people for the last year and this is the
first time I didn’t have someone respond with either a laugh, or with a
simple “No problem. We’ll remove you from the list.” In fact, many PR
companies have turned this entire thing around and sent really hysterical
exchanges to me, which I’ve used to promote their great work in
understanding (and working with) the unique personalities of the very
bloggers they’re trying to reach out to. Just a thought.

Hugs,
Jenny (aka “fucking bitch”)

I don’t know what I expected, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t this:

Jose: I get it and I was out of line by saying that however you put way too much effort
into your approach. A simple “I don’t cover this, no thanks” or “Please remove”
would suffice. To go out of your way to be snarky and rude is a little
inappropriate. Again, I should’ve been less harsh – but I also feel like your email
was rude and unprofessional as well. We will do a better job to research who we are
pitching but maybe you should be flattered that you are even viewed relevant enough
to be pitched at all instead of alienated PR firms and PR people – who are actually
the livelihood of any journalists business. Don’t be offended, you started the
cursing game so maybe we should all just laugh it off and plan not to work together
in the future.

Wow.  Jose was sticking to his guns.  Sadly for both of us, so was I.

My response:

“You should be flattered that you are even viewed relevant enough to be pitched at all.”
You sure know how to flatter a girl. Are you even in
public relations? Am I on Candid Camera? Because I’m kind of baffled.

Please stand by for a demonstration of relevancy.

And then I tweeted to @BrandlinkComm to let them know that one of their VPs just sent me an email referring to me as “a fucking bitch.”  And many, many of my 164,000 followers replied and retweeted in the most clever and hysterically awesome ways imaginable.

And it was beautiful.

PS.  The reason I post this is not to have everyone go all angry-villager on the company.  It’s to remind other bloggers that there are some amazing and wonderful PR companies out there who will do their research and will make your life wonderful.  And there are other PR companies that will try to shame you into posting their irrelevant spam and threaten you with talk of not using you in the future for when they’re doing advertising.  Those PR firms are assholes and you should probably question everything they say.

You are amazing.  You are relevant.  Your work is worth protecting and standing up for.  And you will find wonderful PR companies to work with over time.

Even if you are “a fucking bitch.”

UPDATED: I love you people. Really. Thank you for always having my back and for being so supportive during this weirdness. Jose has apologized, and I’ve been assured by the woman in charge of the company that they are aware and are handling it the best way they know how, so let’s give them some air and let them have the chance to do that. *deep breath*

Now let’s all go have a drink. Make mine a double.

I can only assume they’ve never read my blog before.

I got a form-letter pitch yesterday from Imperial Sugar asking me to submit a limerick about their company.  The winner gets an IPad.

My entry:

There once was a girl from Nantucket,
Who bought Imperial Sugar by the bucket.
She scarfed candies and sweeties,
‘Til she got diabetes.
Then she lost both her legs and said, “Fuck it”.

No response.  I can only assume my iPad is on the way.

UPDATED:  Just a quick clarification.  I’ve had a few angry Type 1 diabetics who are not happy that I’m spreading the myth that sugar causes diabetes.  It doesn’t, and I know that because Type 2 diabetes (with associated comas and amputations) runs in my family and my doctor reminds me constantly that my poor diet greatly increases the risks of me getting it.  Poor diet = eating barrels of sugar.  These jokes are much funnier when I don’t have to explain them.

Someone get them a dictionary.

I just got a form-letter blog pitch from a PR agency congratulating me on my “bludgeoning career“.

I’m going to assume they meant “burgeoning”.  I’m also going to assume they sent this form letter out to hundreds of other bloggers.  Which is kind of hysterical.

Burgeoning: To begin to grow or blossom; to flourish.

Bludgeoning: To beat someone repeatedly with a heavy object; to inflict blunt- force trauma.

 

My reply:  That’s very kind of you, but honestly I haven’t bludgeoned anyone publicly in years.  And I was certainly never so adept at it that I would have considered it “a career”.  I do appreciate the recognition though.

 

Surprisingly, there has been no response from the PR agency.

Sometimes I suspect people are fucking with me on purpose

It’s hard not to be a little bit offended by the hundreds of pitches I get offering me diet pills and lipo coupons, but I just ignore them and add them to my list of people to kick in the groin if I ever meet them in real life.  The pitches are often insulting, but I got a fresh, new perspective when the casting people for the My Strange Addiction show sent me an unsolicited form letter asking for head-shots and for a summary of how my addiction is affecting my loved ones.  Keep in mind that this show is exclusively about the kind of people who can’t stop eating their own furniture.  Awesome. I considered making up my own strange addiction but the last episode was about a lady who’d secretly eaten seven couches and two chairs and I don’t even know how to top that.

Still, I did respond to them:

I’m assuming someone in my family asked you to contact me, as I am cripplingly addicted to watching shows about crippling addictions. Of course, the great tragedy here is that I would almost certainly develop an addiction to watching the addiction show about me being addicted to watching addiction shows and I’m pretty sure that’s how worm-holes get started. To be honest, I think it’s dangerously irresponsible of you to even ask me.

Hugs, Jenny

No response yet.

If my t-shirt got your baby stolen then I apologize (on behalf of the t-shirt).

Ok, so last week I made this shirt for cats to wear.

I made it for cats who don’t want to wear your damn shirts.

But they didn’t have any cat models at my online store so instead I used a baby but then I photo-shopped my cats face on it for my blog because I was like “Who is going to find this shirt without first going through my blog?  No one, obviously.”  But turns out that “Shirley from Florida” found it and was not amused and went to the trouble to look me up, which honestly is probably not that much trouble considering that my store has my picture and name all over it.  She was actually quite nice and explained that this shirt was terribly inappropriate and I was all “Okay, technically you’re right because it’s labeled as G-rated even though it clearly has lots of profanity on it, but the target audience for the shirt can’t read anyway so I’m not too worried.  Plus, it’s less of an ad for a shirt, and more of an ad about why you shouldn’t buy that shirt” and then she explained that she was more concerned with the fact that I was selling a shirt for babies that told people to undress them and also said “Please steal me” on the back and that’s when I realized that she had no idea this shirt was for cats (even though it CLEARLY says it’s for cats in the title).  Still, she had a point and I don’t want to be responsible for someone accidentally buying a shirt for their baby that promotes them getting kidnapped so I went back to the drawing board and found out that zazzle totally does have pet clothes.   Which would be awesome except they don’t have any cat models and they only let you write stuff on one side of the shirt so I can’t even get my whole message across because dog bellies are too small to write t-shirt slogans on, apparently.  Also, the item description written by zazzle goes on and on about the stitching on the “leg holes” and it’s a shirt.  I’m pretty sure shirts don’t have leg-holes, zazzle. Now we’re all confused.

Also, this shirt seems *way* too tight. This feels like an American Apparel ad and now I'm uncomfortable.

PS.  Victor says they probably wrote “leg-holes” because “dogs don’t have arms”.  And this is exactly why Victor isn’t allowed to pick out pets without me.  Because he’d come home with an armless dog and think that was totally normal.  I don’t have time to take care of an armless dog, you guys.  I can barely take care of myself.

PPS.  It is possible that zazzle doesn’t offer cat models simply because they agree with my initial idea that cats shouldn’t wear t-shirts.  So, I guess, touche, Zazzle.  Also, I want to point out that Zazzle does not pay me for all this advertising because I’m not a whore. Except that Zazzle is a company I’m using to sell merchandise.  So I guess I am a whore.  One that isn’t very good with business deals.

PPPS.  Dear Zazzle: You owe me like a billion dollars in advertising.

I’d laugh but I can’t stop crying.

This post sounds like I must be exaggerating for effect but I’m not.  This was an actual pitch, y’all…

Pitch: We’ll pay you $500 for a total of 175 active text links at the bottom  of 35 of your most popular blog posts.

me: Okay.  That’ll cost $43,750.

Pitch: We will pay you $400. Please confirm that we have a deal.

me: I think you don’t know how negotiations work.