Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A PR Pitch is Not a Tweet - The Worst of the Worst

For those of you who were not in PR at the time, or do not remember – although how you could forget I do not know – there was once a PR person at a big agency named Amber who represented a company called Hot Pockets. After 9/11 she sent out a press release about how people might want to check out this comfort food after what happened on that day. Unless she was the bosses’ daughter – actually even if she was – Amber lost her job when the Washington Post published her release with a commentary.
There are far more bad PR people than good and as a service to those of you who are looking for an agency or need PR here are a few articles about the worst that PR has to offer. One of the biggest issues is that so many of the PR people who don’t know what they are doing are young, untrained and trying to get the attention of actual journalists in the same way they would create a tweet or Facebook post. PR requires a real story to tell and a respectful pitch note.
For your amusement here are some of the worst pitches out there:
From Deadspin
From: Chris Brown - Wantster
Subject: Chris Brown and Wantster to make sick kid's wish come true
For Immediate Release - Toronto, Canada – July 16, 2013
When social site learned of Chris Brown's support of the Kids Wish Network following a backlash of media reports of locals trying to boycott Brown from headlining the Energy Rush concert series, the company decided to get involved as a major sponsor. Wantster is working with Kids Wish Network and Chris Brown to fulfill the want of a child who is battling a life threatening illness. "We wanted to check off "MEET CHRIS BROWN" from one lucky child's want list by granting them an up close and personal meeting with Brown himself and VIP access to one of the concerts taking place in Halifax, Winnipeg or Toronto", says Kathy Brewer, publicist for Wantster.

From Bob Garfield in MediaPost

I  mean, check out this big scoop, courtesy of Jeff Inks and Theresa Jacobs over at ALI. (Come on. Don’t pretend you don’t know the initials…)
American Ladder Institute Exhibits at NSC Expo
CHICAGO – The American Ladder Institute (ALI), a not-for-profit association dedicated to developing ladder safety standards and promoting safe ladder use, will be exhibiting at the 2013 National Safety Council (NSC) Expo taking place September 30 – October 2 in Chicago.
Look, guys, I don't want to be too smart-alecky about this, but if I didn't bite on your Ladder Safety Month release, why would I promote your convention booth? In future, please address your ladder-awareness news to My inbox is no place for your spam. And by the way, on the subject of pork and pork byproducts, this arrived from Peter Marchese of Playback Producers:
.Intv Opp-Bacon Nation
Hi, folks!  Are you a bacon-lover? Check out these 125 recipes that show bacon isn’t just for breakfast anymore!!  Please let me know if you’d like to book an interview!    

From Gawker

Hello! My name is Veronica. [Hi.] I found your blog through my research on Technorati, Google, and Social Media sites. [Thank you, fascinating.] After reviewing your site, I commend you. I respect your work. I know that blogging is more work than most understand. [God damn right Veronica.]
I'm reaching out to you to start the discussion of working together. I'm looking to promote our easy, convenient, and confidential car title loans as an alternative to other traditional lender options for those across the nation with financial hardships.[Let me stop you right there, Veronica. You see, we are a humorous general interest blog site with little to no connection to the topic of car title loans. Furthermore, we are not in the business of promoting specific car title loan companies. Even our car site, Jalopnik, where you should have sent this email (if only you did not think we are The Huffington Post), does not do that. So you're really wasting your time here. Thanks anyhow. You may stop writing, hit "Cancel," and continue on doing something more productive with your day now.] 

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