Category Archives: Marketing gone bad

I think I’m being stalked.

Email from company I’ve never heard of before:  DEAR JEMMY, DON’T MISS OUT ON TODAY’S EXCLUSIVE SPECIALS!

me:  ::Clicks unsubscribe button::

Their website:  To unsubscribe you must go to this webpage to update your email preference.

me:  ::Unchecks the EIGHTEEN types of email notifications that I never signed up for::


me:  “Miss” is not the word I’d use here.  Or “amazeballs” non-ironically.  ::Clicks the confirm button::

Their website:  We are sure this is a mistake on your part.  We are sending you an email asking you to confirm that you want to unsubscribe.

me: wtf.

Their new email: Jemmy, we don’t want to alarm you but we believe some scoundrel may have hacked into your account to take away your access to our great daily offers.  If this was not you, please ignore.  Your notifications will continue uninterrupted   If it was you please click here to unsubscribe.

me:  ::clicks::

Their website again:  Hello again!   You aren’t attempting to leave us, are you?  We want you to be happy.  Please use the comment box to tell us why you are considering unsubscribing so we can fix these issues and keep you as a customer.


Their website:  You entered : “BITCH ARE YOU EVEN SERIOUS RIGHT NOW?”  Thank you for your feedback!  One of our customer service representatives will be contacting you as soon as possible to help!  

me: Is this hell?

Their newest email:  Hello, Jemmy!  This is an automated response confirming your concern of “BITCH ARE YOU EVEN SERIOUS RIGHT NOW“.  Please do not reply to this automated email.  A representative will be contacting you by email in the next 48 hours for follow-up.  While you’re waiting, be sure to check out today’s exclusive specials!  If you would like to opt out of these emails click UNSUBSCRIBE here.

me: ::Stares at the screen for a full minute.  Clicks “UNSUBSCRIBE”::

Their website:  This account has been locked due to suspicious activity of TRIED TO UNSUBSCRIBE AFTER ALREADY UNSUBSCRIBED.  The original setting of RECEIVE ALL EXCLUSIVE EMAIL OFFERS will be reinstated on this account.  If you believe this is an error please click this link for help.

me: ::Clicks link.  With hammer::

Their website:  Thank you for being a valued customer!  Please check your email for further instructions!  Don’t forget to check out today’s exclusive offers!

Their email:  Dear Jemmy.  You are very persistent!  Just like our desire to give you great exclusive daily deals!  We have so much in common.  We belong together.

me:  ::crying::  Why are you doing this?

Their email:  Dear Jemmy:  Perhaps we weren’t clear.  You can never leave.  We love you.  Check out our exclusive daily offers!  As a valued customer today only we’re offering free shipping  if you click here to authorize access to all of your contacts and social media accounts. 


Their email:    Your name has been updated in our system.  Thank you for being a team player, Jelly!  Enclosed is your coupon code for free shipping.  Offer is only valid last year on chainsaws that have been recalled for safety reasons.  Be sure to check out our exclusive daily deals!  Please note that your access to email and social media accounts has been locked for 24 hours as there seems to be someone masquerading as you trying to unsubscribe to your account.  Your safety is our priority.


*end scene*

PS.  It is shocking how little of this is hyperbole.

UPDATED: I’m gonna be a vampire. Maybe.


I always get spam comments on my blog about weird stuff like voodoo spells and contacting the dead, but a few days ago one came in telling me that I could become a vampire.  One of my favorite things to do with these sort of comments is to actually respond and see how far I can take the conversation into the strange and ridiculous.  Usually I only get one or two emails back before they give up and realize I’m not actually going to give them my personal information and/or money but this one went on longer than usual so I decided to share it.  (You can click on any of the screenshots to embiggen.)

The original comment:


I was a little concerned that the word “vampire” was misspelled on their email address but vampires aren’t known for spelling so I still had hope.   The following is a direct screenshot of our conversation.  I used my ZuZu Petals account because I’m pretty sure you don’t give your real name to people who might be vampires..  Also, I was late-night drinking when I wrote some of these responses, so please forgive the typos.

Here you go:





It’s been 12 hours since the last response so I think I may have scared him off.

I’ll keep you posted if me and Lil Schnitzle get in.


I kept everyone updated on the vampire situation via twitter:







And I thought that this would mark the end of my adventures but THEN I GOT ANOTHER EMAIL FROM THE VAMPIRE LORD.  Coming as a complete surprise to everyone involved, he wanted money.:

My response:



To be continued…

It’s been 24 hours so I suspect I’m being ignored by the vampire lord but I’m not giving up so easily.  Email I sent tonight:




No response so far, but Lil Schnitzel hasn’t given the dream up yet.


To be continued…

UPDATED: It’s been 12 hours and I think ZuZu is being blackballed.  But I’m not giving in that easily.  Click here for the next step because this post is getting too long.

The importance of checking when your copy breaks.

I sent my friend Cat a link to these tiny metal models I love to make.  This is what Amazon passed on to her phone:

harshAnd that’s why it’s important to test how much of your ad copy shows up on a cell phone.

PS.  The missing part: “…emble them and enjoy!”

Yeah.  That does change the tone a bit.

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.


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.

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.

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.