I had planned to rant today about some smart marketing I came across the other day when a bit of really awful marketing slapped me in the face. I guess I’ll save the good stuff for after the holiday! Instead, let me present some terrible PR work to you. It’s almost a textbook example of what not to do in the modern age. I’m not going to name names because maybe the client has no clue what this person is doing (which is bad too!) in the client’s name. The names are unimportant; the bad PR work is what matters.
The first thing that catches one’s attention is the release’s headline:
Olive Oil Give Box Celebrated After Investigation
My first thought is what the heck is a “give box”? Something that solicits charitable donations? No, what it is in actuality is a typo. In the headline. He meant “gift”. That’s strike one.
Next comes the meaning of the headline. A gift box celebrated after an investigation? Not exactly. There has been an ongoing investigation of fraudulent labelling in the Italian olive oil world for quite a while. The report came out last week. It made no mention, however, of either gift boxes or the brand that is behind the release, which is a Greek olive oil. As an aside, every olive oil producing region has issues with fraudulent labelling, so I’m not sure that “celebrated” is the right term, since the fact that some Italian producers were doing some bad stuff doesn’t celebrate your Greek oil. In fact, it sort of makes me wonder if I should wonder about this oil. There is a ton of hyperbole in the document too. If the oil is “priceless”, why is there a price stated? Strike two.
The body of the story pitch/press release (I can’t tell which it is which is a bad sign right there) reads like a direct response ad. It describes the product along with selling points and has an affiliate link into an Amazon store for purchase. It goes on to suggest “ideas for this story.” What story? Why do my readers (you folks!) care one iota about a premium Greek olive oil? How does the knowledge of what’s in this release benefit you? Strike three.
My inclination here is to rewrite this and show you how he could have turned it into something that might be of interest. Instead, let’s just remember that what’s “news” to you must really be news to the reader (or blogger). Please don’t ask me, or any other outlet, to serve as your vehicle for unpaid advertising. Please don’t ask me to waste my readers’ time. And for goodness’ sake, proofread the release!
There is a valuable role for good PR. Bad PR such as this has no place. You with me?