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

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.

Christine Peake,

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.

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

  1. WHAT. A. GREAT. POST!!!! i love it. nothing intelligent to add to the conversation, i just had to say that. i live in LA and i am so very sick of all that PR BS.


  2. How about sending the emails to to the poor saps that are paying these people to promote them? Would that be too mean? I mean, I can just imagine this tiny jewelry outfit being all psyched that they are to the level of (ooo, ah) hiring a PR firm, and really the company can’t even write a sentence or maintain professionalism in correspondence. I’ve had a very similar experience in email correspondence with a fashion company. That’s one reason I stick to costuming for theatre, and stay away from fashion. Scary people!


  3. That’s unbelievably bad.Not really their writing skills or the fact they are promoting something completelly different from what you’re interested in (even though those things are really bad, too), but the arrogance in their reply! Unbelievable. But I guess this aspect of their personality also explains the previous two problems…


  4. Loved the post! Erin, you said your efforts are probably wasted, but look how much you entertained us and how well you aired your mind. I adore opening junk mail, writing notes such as you did, and mailing them back in the postage paid envelopes. I love letters and stamps, so I appreciate the free opportunity to air my mind AND donate to the USPS!!


  5. i’ve had a somewhat difficult day at work so thank you, THANK YOU for that piece of entertainment. i’m so very glad you responded to that stupid email! 🙂


  6. Oh dear! Now I noticed it… bad, bad spelling! When “rumor” is mentioned for the second time in the original e-mail, I took it for… well, rumor! And then I was wondering what sense it probably could have. Haha.


  7. I gave up last November and posted standards for PR people. Other than sending them a link to that post (submission requirements), I don’t bother responding anymore. I tell you, I thought the apparel industry was bad but PR has hit an all time low. I’m not kidding when I say that I suspect most “firms” are being run out of dorm rooms and that they outsource the majority of their correspondence to the dorm janitorial staff who speak English as a second language. Okay, I was kidding about the latter. But not the former.The odd thing is, they all seem to think they are very very clever. Before, when I still responded to them and they treated me as tho I were inordinately stupid (for failing to appreciate the value of what they’re doing), I used to remind them that Marketing majors have the lowest GPAs on campus. Then it just got so very dark, having to explain what GPA meant etc. Now, I send them a link to my submission requirements. If they fail to follow guidelines, I ask to be deleted. If they continue to annoy me, I call their boss (assuming they have one), them, or file a complaint with their hosting provider. Works like a charm! I’ve gone from getting over 100-150 pieces of this crap a day, to maybe 10 or 20. Very manageable now.


  8. You know, after reading the peak pr website, I’m unconvinced that these are the people who spammed you. Although I see problems of a different sort there, namely in the logic on their ‘STAR’ page, this company seems to be composed of a couple by the names of Ken and Pam, who have been in business since 1990. I don’t know who’s using their business name, but if I were them, I’d be mad. Maybe you should forward the e-mail exchange to them. 🙂


  9. Christine Peake is an absolute train-wreck. She and her staff are as incompetent as they come in the industry. Absolutely no one takes her seriously.


  10. its so funny that you have to approve the comments before you post them. this blog makes me think 1 thing:you’re a cunt.


  11. Hey, Anonymous, I only need to approve comments on old entries, to keep out as much spam as possible. You can call me all the names you like, from your nice little anonymous perch. Have fun!


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