PR Firm Calls Blogger a “Bitch.” Don’t Mess With ‘The Bloggess’

October 7, 2011 at 3:05 pm 6 comments

Don’t send this bloggess a bad pitch. You’ll be sorry.

I follow the PR agency horror stories about pissing off a blogger and cringe at the thought of that being me. It keeps me grounded and scares the you know what out of me. It secretly (not so much anymore), helps reinforce that I’m on the right track in my approach.  You know, the track that understands how powerful bloggers are, how much respect they deserve and how much they can influence others’ negative opinions if you drop the ball? Yah..that track.

One blogger to respect? The Blogess. This tell-it-like-it-is, take no prisoners blog rock star is just one blogger you don’t want to mess with. Oh, and she has like a bagillion followers. Of course, one agency just didn’t quite get it…actually the VP of the agency. Ouch.

Here’s the train wreck of the bad PR pitch that turned into an even worst PR mistake from Brandlink Communications, a branding agency in LA:

1. The Blogess gets a pitch about a Kardashian sister being spotted in Panty Hose. BIG news, right?!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Actual line from the pitch to The Bloggess:

“The Kardashian’s once again show they are right on trend, and this is on Mommy’s are all going to want to follow.”

See any grammer mistakes here?

Well, The Bloggess, being her unique self, naturally sends PR people with bad pitches the same thing: A photo of  Wil Wheaton collating paper.  (Best known for his role in Star Trek). Just plain cool.

Here’s her blog post explaining to him why she wanted his photo:

You probably don’t read my blog so I should explain that the reason I need a picture of you is because I constantly get emails from PR people offering me pictures of celebrities using whatever bullshit product I don’t actually care about and I’d like it to stop. I still get these emails daily and my plan is to get a picture of you collating paper so that when they offer me a picture of “Harry Connick Jr. standing next to yarn” I can say “Thanks.  Here’s a picture of Wil Wheaton collating paper” and then they’ll be like “Um…why would I want a picture of Wil Wheaton collating paper?” and I can be like, “EXACTLY.”  It wouldn’t actually stop PR people from emailing me thousands of pictures of people-with-things but I’d at least feel better about it.

I’d laugh hysterically if she sent me this. I’d send her back an email and say “You got me. Thanks for making me laugh. I totally understand. Thanks!” And then attach this:

3. The person pitching her didn’t really like receiveing the photo. AKA she didn’t quite get the reference.

Here’s what the original PR pitch woman said in return:

Hi there,
That wasn’t very nice. We send certain pitches out to people so they have the chance of getting more hits on their page. We’ll make note of this email in moving forward and remember if we have any advertising opportunities with any of our clients not to go through you.
Best of luck to you.
Best,
Erica

4. Good old Erica forwarded The Bloggess’ original photo email/no thanks onto the VP, Jose. He accidently hit “Reply all” (worst nightmare) with this gem:

Jose:  ”What a fucking bitch!”

5. Uh-oh.

6. The Bloggess tweeted about it and wrote a post about it. Storm for Jose and Brandlink= The Bloggess’ 168,570 Twitter followers and thousands upon thousands of blog followers.

7. The Bloggess wrote back to Jose and said:

Hi. This is sort of why “reply all” doesn’t usually work well for
companies. Unless, of course, you decided that “What a fucking bitch” was
a great response from a public relations company. Personally, I preferred
the “Best of luck to you” one, which was much more honest and cutting,
while still being professional.

If you’ve read my blog you would know that a great deal of my blog deals
with the importance of public relations companies doing research before
sending form letters to bloggers. Specifically, I’m very vocal about
ridiculous pitches involving celebrities using products. So much so that
I made that actual Wil Wheaton collating paper page to combat this very
sort of thing in a quick and painless way. My blog has nothing to do with
fashion, the Kardashians or pantyhose…none of which I understand, to be
honest. Plus, you’ve sent me this form letter TWICE today. I only point
this out so you can delete this *ahem* “fucking bitch” from all of the
mailing lists you have me on, rather than just one.

Also, I apologize if you were offended by my email. Honestly, I’ve been
sending that thing out to PR people for the last year and this is the
first time I didn’t have someone respond with either a laugh, or with a
simple “No problem. We’ll remove you from the list.” In fact, many PR
companies have turned this entire thing around and sent really hysterical
exchanges to me, which I’ve used to promote their great work in
understanding (and working with) the unique personalities of the very
bloggers they’re trying to reach out to. Just a thought.

Hugs,
Jenny (aka “fucking bitch”)

8. Normally, someone would appoligize profusley. Not the case for Jose.

9. Jose’s response:

Jose: I get it and I was out of line by saying that however you put way too much effort into your approach. A simple “I don’t cover this, no thanks” or “please remove” would suffice. To go out of your way to be snarky and rude is a little inappropriate. Again, I should’ve been less harsh- but I also feel like you email was rude and unprofessional as well. We will do a better job to research who we are pitching but maybe you should be flattered that you are even viewed releavant enough to be pitched at all instead of alienated PR firms and PR people- who are actually the livelihood of any journalists business.Don’t be offended, you started the cursing game so maybe we should all just laugh it off and plan not to work together in the future.

10. Laugh it off? More like wind blowing, houses turning over–hurricane Bloggess.

11. As a true PR professional, I have to measure the outcome.

*Over 900 comments on her The Bloggess’ post.

*Thousands of tweets to her and Brandlink.

*#Brandlink was a trending topic on Twitter nationwide.

*Hundreds of blog posts from other bloggers about the Brandlink controversy (this one included!)

*News media is beginning to pick up the strory, including Business Insider, Gawker and The Houston Chronicle Blog.

*Hundreds of comments on Brandlink’s Facebook wall.

I feel bad for the CEO of the agency, who seems to be taking much of the flack for it. Read her Facebook appology and the throwing of stones that’s happening here.

Will Brandlink ever be able to do blog outreach again?  My guess is not for a while. They need to let the dust settle. Virtually every blogger who’s any blogger knows their name. And it’s not in a good way.

I really do wish the best for the future of Brandlink, and hopefully, this resonates with PR firms everywhere as a lesson.

Moral of the story, don’t mess with The Bloggess.

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6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Amber  |  October 7, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    I love the Bloggess! I love her snarky witty ways!

    Reply
  • 2. tkharmonic  |  October 7, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    I don’t feel bad for the CEO. She referred to #PantyJose as Jose “a very well respected publicist and beloved by so many in the media.”

    Carol also says: “This was an isolated incident and not representative of who we are.”

    Wrong on both counts, Carol. #PantyJose is a joke, and this incident has defined your company.

    Reply
  • 3. lizzie  |  October 7, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    THAT IS RIDICULOUS. Carol’s apology was ridiculous. The GRAMMAR MISTAKES! I CAN’T BELIEVE EXECUTIVES at a PR firm would send emails with so many grammar mistakes!

    YIKES! I am a huge fan of that fucking bitch, thank you.

    Reply
  • 4. PJ  |  October 12, 2011 at 7:00 am

    One small correction: Jenny didn’t go public until after #9 (Jose’s non-apology). Jose’s e-mail said she should be flattered she was relevant enough that Brandlink was pitching her at all. She posted “Stand by for a demonstration of relevancy” then hit Twitter, which I think showed remarkable restraint.

    Reply
    • 5. ilovelovee  |  October 12, 2011 at 11:20 am

      Thanks PJ. I do know about that part, and didn’t specifically include it in here so thanks for clarifying. She did show some great restraint, and I’m just fascinated by the whole situation!

      Reply
  • [...] And the best part? These unfortunate folks (i.e. “morons”) don’t realize how utterly outmatched they are in the [...]

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A marketing gal's journey through life as a young professional. The storyline includes heart flutters, hiccups and happiness along the way...with one big spoonful of creativity in each chapter. I'm also the founder of Young Women in Digital, a Boston-based group for digital marketers to mix and mingle at pressure-free, fun events around the city!

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