One of the main gripes I have with bad PR is that some PR companies and PR officers don’t research the publications that they contact, and so, I often get press releases that aren’t in my publication’s remit. Sadly, this is something that happens quite often, and it annoys a lot of journalists. Welcome to PR Post Mortem; a new feature on The Taylor Trash, where I unlock the archives and examine the cold, dead cadaver of bad PR pitches past.
This press release was sent to my TPR account (and remember, we only review theatre) by a PR company specialising in promoting film.
Hi Amy [Hello!]
Hope all’s well? [I can’t complain, I’ve had a long day at work, I’m watching season five of Sons of Anarchy at the moment, how are you?]
Festival season has arrived [Oh no, please don’t let this be about a music festival] – Glastonbury is upon us! – [I never go to music festivals] and disco is making a smash return this summer. [ Making a smash return? Disco never died to us fans, PR lady] Leading the way with his iconic brand of dance and funk is one man hit factory, Nile Rodgers. [Oh yes, I’ve heard of Nile Rogers, he’s one of the most talented musicians/composers/producers/Guitarists around, but why have you made his name bold?]
Before Nile is joined by the rest of his band, Chic, on the West Holts Stage at Glastonbury on Friday night, [I won’t be at Glastonbury] Warner have produced an exceptionally informative Discographic, [You mean an infographic?] covering the copious members of pop royalty Rodgers has worked with including Madonna, Davie Bowie, Michael Jackson, Will Smith and most recently Daft Punk! [Why is this in bold as well? I know who these celebrities are. Is it something to do with getting lucky? Bad joke, sorry PR lady, but I can read, you know.]
Brush up on your Chic knowledge and take a look at the graphic by following the link below: [I know a lot about this band already, because I love disco, so, no.]
For any questions or if you would be interested in receiving a review disc let me know. [So, this isn’t an invitation to review? You just wanted to send me your shiny ‘discographic’? I feel dirty]
All the best,
I love disco, I love Chic, I love Nile Rodgers, but I hated this approach. However, the best part of this PR was hidden in the footer, underneath the signature, where I found this little snippet of joy.
This message was sent to Amy. If you no longer wish to receive email from us, please follow the link below or copy and paste the entire link into your browser. [Link]
This PR company not only sent me a PR that was irrelevant to my publication, but they also opted my email address into their email distribution service, which I never agreed to, which I then had to opt out of in order to avoid additional pointless press releases.
However, this is not the end of the story; a few days after I received this email via this mail distribution service, I received a similar email directly from the PR company which I also had to unsubscribe from in order to opt out of further correspondence. Oh, the joy.
What They Did Right
- They began with a greeting
- They used my name
- They kept their pleasantries short
What They Did Wrong
- They pitched a theatre publication a film/DVD story
- They included a pointless ‘Discographic’
- They assumed that I didn’t know about Chic/Nile Rodgers – I do, which they didn’t realise, but they assumed that I (and other journalists they contacted) were ignorant of the joys of D.I.S.C.O.
- They signed me up to a third-party mailing list without my permission
- They subscribed my email address to their internal mailing list without my permission
Post Mortem Recommendations
- Pitch the right publication
- Research the journalist
- Just because infographics are ‘in’ doesn’t mean you should include one in your pitch
- Don’t subscribe email addresses to a mailing system. Ever.
- Ah, freak out!