Actually, there IS such a thing as bad publicity; let me show you it

by Erin on February 28, 2008

I get a LOT of press releases, all clamoring for me to push something on this blog. Somehow last year I made it to some list of the Top Fifty Fashion Blogs (number 37! represent!) and now everyone and her intern has my email address.

Now, I don't mind a GOOD pitch, but I don't get very many of those. (Most of the good pitches are for books, which is probably because book publicists actually READ.)

I do mind a BAD pitch. What makes a pitch bad? Lots of things. The worst are pitches that make it embarrassingly apparent that the pitch-er has never read my blog before. Do I feature jewelry consistently? No. What makes you think I will start doing so for your product? Do I breathlessly report the doings and wearings of starlets? No again. So why would I be interested in your report of a C-list personage involved with your product in some way? And, more importantly, why would the people who read this blog be interested?

Sending out hundreds of badly-worded, badly-targeted pitches is spamming, no more, no less. What really gets me is that these poor designers are brainwashed into thinking they need to PAY these clueless "PR reps" to piss off bloggers and editors for them. It's shameful. (If the goal was to piss off editors and bloggers it'd be cheaper and more fun for the designer to just go around and egg everyone's houses.)

A little while back I got this pitch. (Client name blocked out to avoid giving them any publicity, even the bad kind.)

Check out our exclusive photo of Rumor Willis wearing a $32,000 ring, designed by —— —–, the hottest jewelry designer out there.

[note: I have never heard of this designer.]

The ring is almost 4CT in diamonds! Rumor drooled over the ring when she recently stopped by —– show room.

We would love to see this photo on your awesome blog! You guys do a great job!
Call/email me with any questions..

Kate Long
PeakPR Group

Yep, that was the whole release, word-for-word, and exactly as sent to me (minus client name and rep's contact info). First of all, there was no link to the photo to "check out." If I WERE interested, I'd have to write back for it. Dumb. (Of course, that's much better than the PR reps who insist on cluttering my inbox with eight .jpgs all named things like JPG001.jpg!)

My blog is called A DRESS A DAY. I write about sewing and vintage: not exactly an upscale lifestyle. Why are you sending me press releases for hugely expensive diamond rings? My last CAR didn't cost $32K.

Also — "Rumor" Willis? If even I, disassociated as I am from tabloid culture, know that her name is spelled "Rumer," how dumb do YOU look?

And Rumer is famous solely because Ashton Kutcher is her step-dad. This does not mean she is a style arbiter. Again: why should I (or anyone) care?

One more thing: It's pretty apparent that I write this whole blog all by my lonesome. Why use "you guys"?

For some dumb reason (I blame low blood sugar) I replied to this PR missive, pointing out the above errors, explaining that their releases did not inspire confidence in their services or their clients' products, and asking to be taken off their list.

Then, I got this gem back:

My intern sent that, thanks for pointing it out.

[Worst. Excuse. Ever. So you're charging your clients ... for work done by interns? That you evidently didn't check? And you're advertising this fact? It's not the intern's fault, if she is an intern. It's yours.]

By the way your English have been "are not applicable."

[I wrote "I'm the only person writing [my blog], so "you guys" is not applicable." Which is less correct than the sentence above, apparently.]

Also, we rep 160 retail stores, so we are very inspired..

[Quantity equals quality! We all know that.]

They happen include major leading fashion designers.

[That sentence no verb.]

Clearly you should be more polite regarding a simple spell check, it is clear your blog is amateur,

[Which is why ... you wanted me to feature your client on my amateur blog?]

you never know the help one needs on the way up. Politeness is the door to success.

Sincerely,
Christine Peake,
CEO, PEAKPR GROUP.

That last bit just kills me. I always assumed KNOWING HOW TO DO YOUR JOB was the door to success; politeness just oils the hinges of that door. I think Ms. Peake and her PEAKPR group are pushing (hard) on a door marked PULL.

This (replying to stupid pitches pointing out their stupidity and asking to not be sent any more stupid pitches) probably falls under the heading of not teaching pigs to sing (it wastes your time and annoys the pig). But, damn, rank incompetence annoys me! How hard is it to do a little RESEARCH? Spend a little time reading?

For a much better rant on this subject, check out Chris Anderson's. Be sure to read all the comments for your RDA of other-people's-cluelessness.

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