PR Pitch Tactic Reaches New Low

As a blogger I’ve been dealing with PR reps for a good few years.

Some of them have been really great- the ones who pay attention, get your name right, and are generally polite without being pushy are a blast to work with. There have been a couple who left the companies they worked for that I was actually sad to see them go.

The bad ones- the ones who call you by the wrong name (or just the name of your blog), don’t bother looking to see what your blog is about, or are just plain rude I generally send straight to the circular file. No harm, no foul. A bad pitch is generally to be ignored.

Today I saw a new level of low from a PR rep that just bordered on slimy, to the point of pissing me off.

No secret Paul and I have our pet project, Daily Shite, which we run together. He handles the technical stuff, I deal with our authors, and we handle all content submissions together. No decision is made by either one of us, we do it all together. The site lists us as co-owners, and I like to think we truly are a team in all aspects of things.

So when two people are a team, why exactly would a PR rep feel the need to skip the website’s quite prominent contact form, and instead go to the personal website of the male half of that team, and send him a pitch email to his personal email address, suggesting a certain video might appeal to the Daily Shite audience?

Might it have something to do with the fact that the content of that video was 2 half naked cheerleaders trying to get out of a speeding ticket by doing things like rubbing brownies all over their boobs?

The thought process seems quite obvious here- male and female jointly own site, track down male and try to circumvent female and hope male is dumb enough/blinded by boobs to try to talk female into running content that is clearly out of line with what is usually posted on said site.

I know boys can be a little on the slow side, but really? I wouldn’t be marrying the man if he were so dumb that a pair of tits made him lose all coherent thought to the point of suggesting we run something that violates our site policies. (On the contrary, I happen to think he’s quite brilliant.)

PR people have a hard job as it is, and this sort of slimeball shit does not help the reputation of an industry that is still trying to find it’s feet with bloggers and new media.

I’m glad most reps are not this sleazy, and I sincerely hope LBK Global learns a little something from their mistake, because they have just earned a place on the PR wall of shame.

What Do Your PR Offerings Say About You?

Although I rarely do reviews here, I like getting PR pitches for the same reason I’ve always like mystery gifts and grab bags- like the proverbial box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get.

When most of my blogging was about my kids, I got a lot of offers for toys, kids dvds and the like. It made sense, because I fit into their demographic. They saw me as The Mommy.

What does it say about me when the offerings of the day are SPAM recipes and a book on menopause?

I feel like I just got the world’s worst fortune cookie- ‘You are old and have crappy taste in food! SPAM for you!’.

Put Down the Knives BlogHers, The Nikon Debacle Does Not Call For Blood

I’m starting to believe what they say about women’s cycles synchronizing when they spend time together. Clearly the women on Twitter this week are on a mission to take down someone, somewhere. The mommybloggers are out for blood.

It started with the whole PR blackout thing. From there both sides argued back and forth till they were blue in the face, and apparently the topic even made it to the BlogHer conference this weekend. No casualties have been reported so far, so all seems well there, and hopefully a consensus was reached.

Then last night I started seeing mention of an incident that made me do a double-take. It seems at least one mommyblogger at the BlogHer 2009 conference was invited to a party held by Nikon, but then was turned away when the limo arrived to pick them up, because they had babies in tow. ‘No babies allowed’ was the rule of the evening, and when news of this hit Twitter, the BlogHers were on it like a hungry pitbull on a raw steak.

Just as viciously I might add. The hashtag ‘#nikonhatesbabies’ was quickly created, and news spread like wildfire. What started as an event to reach out to these women bloggers turned into what is likely to be their worst hurry-up-and-cover-your-ass PR shitstorm of the year.

I have to admit to being a little shocked at first. Women bloggers..babies..not allowing babies at the event? Seems like horribly distorted logic to me. Then I started reading into it.

Once you get past the OMG no they didn’t! bit, it starts to make sense. This is Nikon’s first year at BlogHer, a very important fact to remember. What Nikon saw going into this was demographics. Women ages whatever to whatever, bloggers, active in social media, average reach of whatever number audience. Just as they would with any other event they looked to sponsor. The problem came when they failed to look beyond what they saw on paper. It was not Nikon’s direct decision to not allow babies. That policy was actually dictated by the venue that was booked. Yes, Nikon was in charge of picking the place, but remember again, Nikon has never been to BlogHer before.

Women need to remember that babies and conferences traditionally do not go together. Blogher is incredibly progressive in that they welcome and help arrange childcare for those mothers who have to bring their kids. Most conferences cannot or do not make that sort of provision. Which means that there is a very good chance that this is the first time Nikon has dealt with an event of this sort that babies even become an issue.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Nikon was any way right in this. Whoever they put in charge of coordinating this event dropped the ball. Turning away influential women you invited to a party *because they are influential* is going to land you in a little hot water, no avoiding it.

Yet I can’t help but feel bad for Nikon here. The restaurant’s policy was clear- no babies. When that venue is providing the space and the food, it’s not like they could have at that very moment picked up and moved it elsewhere. Their hands were tied, and they had to make do the best they could.

In the end, it was a mistake. A bad, bumbly mistake, but a mistake nonetheless.

One that certainly does not warrant trying to declare to Twitter and the world that “#nikonhatesbabies”. Because they don’t. They are a company like any other, who made a simple error in planning, in an arena that they are just starting to dip a toe into. They are new to this, and they made a blunder. We all have at some point.

What concerns me is what effect this outcry for blood is going to do to future events. After being labeled baby-haters this year, what do you actually think the chances are that Nikon, a large company with a lot of cash to spend, will actually sponsor future BlogHer events? Sponsorship BlogHer relies on to keep these events affordable for everyone. Again, we are not talking about a company that knew the rules and purposely stepped on people’s toes, just one who didn’t understand how the game is played, and dropped the ball because of it.

I can’t understand why the knee-jerk reaction is to make as much of a shitstorm as possible, when it seems to me all they need is a little educating. I think a few thoughtfully written letters to Nikon explaining their blunder would have been far more useful, and less likely to fuck things up for everyone in terms of future BlogHer sponsorship.

With great power comes great responsibility, and in this case, it’s being wielded about as carefully as a hyper 2 year old with a freshly sharpened butcher knife.

This is What the World Thinks of Mommybloggers.

A few days ago I weighed in on the whole MommyBlogger/PR whine-fest issue. I’ve given my opinion on this subject- I personally think if bloggers are taking on too much, they need to suck it up and learn to say no. I’m absolutely disgusted with the commercialism that has overtaken a genre that I used to consider myself a part of. I think the whole debate has finally raised the issue of what mommyblogging is, and why so many have decided that they need to be nothing more than a mouthpiece for whoever will send them the most crap.

Today I read a piece over on Mediapost, which caters to “media, marketing and advertising professionals”, talking about the proposed blackout and raising the question of what would happen if PR started doing the same thing to bloggers.

The piece itself didn’t much spark my interest, but the following quote certainly made me raise an eyebrow.

One wonders what would happen if the marketing world instituted an extended “Blogger Blackout” in return — no samples, no giveaways, no coupons, no trips. And readers would then keep going to those blogs because … ?

And readers would then keep going to those blogs because … ?

Ladies, when marketers think no one will want to read your blogs because you aren’t peddling their shit, you’ve got a problem.