Lately, I've received some really off-target spam "news" releases from PR types. Last year, my friend Todd Defren and I commiserated about the sad state of PR spam last year, when he told me about a press release he was pitched, all about oatmeal. Todd writes about PR, social media, and agency life. Not consumer products. By the way, Todd is a true thought leader and visionary, the "social media news release" was his brainchild.
Another leader in calling out bad pitches is the "Bad Pitch Blog." They're taking on the silly media relations frenzy that surrounds SXSW each year. It's worth a follow. Here is their social media relations quiz.
Today, I received a completely off-target news release, one of those "Yeah! We're the agency of record for our new client!" garbage news releases. In my opinion, it's great to be "thrilled" to have a new client, but keep this stuff to the Advertising and PR trade pubs. Or better yet, just post it on your agency's website. In this case, the agency was "The Truth Be Told" (offices in New York and LA!)
PR spam is a serious threat to the credibility to all PR people, and it's getting really bad. I'm always encouraging my friends in the media to take action and push back. So, I decided to respond. Here is the exchange that ensued.
First, the breathy first paragraph of the "News" Release. The pitch was exactly three words long.
For your consideration:(!!!!) <----- (That's it, in case you missed it!)
TRUTH BE TOLD TO REPRESENT CANADA G00SE
New York, NY (March 9, 2011) – Canada Goose, Inc.,the Canadian company, who for over 50 years has been committed to producing the best extreme weather outerwear in the world; proudly made in Canada, announced today that Truth Be Told, Inc., a public relations and marketing firm with offices in New York and Los Angeles, was selected as the agency of record for this iconic brand. “We’re thrilled to have Truth Be Told on board. The last five years have been a time of remarkable growth for our company in United States,” said Kevin Spreekmeester, VP Global Marketing. “We believe that TBT has a unique combination of New York savvy and Los Angeles savoir faire to provide the perfect public relations marketing support we need to maintain the upward momentum.”
ME: "Why on earth would you send me this release? You obviously have no idea what you are doing."
Amanda S. from Truth Be Told: "Then it would behoove you to change your details on the media search engines."
Me: "I write about public relations. You've obviously never read my blog. My search details don't include anything about wanting to read random press releases that I would not write about in A MILLION YEARS."
Amanda: "By the way, I hope the advice you give clients includes building relationships, because clearly you're terrific at that."
Me: "I didn't ask you for anything. You are the one who sent me a cookie cutter "For Your Consideration" agency of record spam email. Clearly, I could give a crap less, and your sass is not helping your case, that of your client, or your company's reputation. You do know I'm a blogger, right?"
Amanda: (note the change in tone): I have never engaged in such a correspondence with a media person, nor do I intend to. I was simply surprised by your reaction and perhaps reacted too quickly. We work with several outlets that focus on media moves and somehow your name ended up on this short list. Apologies if it clogged your inbox. There is no reason to endanger my business or the reputation of our client, that spends a lot of time and resources on protecting the environment and endangered species.