Commentary

Wild Pitches, Autumn Edition

Can it be six months already? It is! A half year has elapsed since the last roundup of PR Wild Pitches, the semiannual shaming exercise in which publicists are forced to answer for their indiscriminate flackery.

This is not about singling out those who merely guess wrong about a particular journalist’s interest. Wild Pitches is about those who make zero effort to match the proposition to the recipient, blasting out unequivocally irrelevant queries at the expense of not only the reporter’s patience but the client’s reputation.

Or, put another way, no -- Marcie Katcher of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, the announcement of your Acceptance Day and Ceremony for the 237 plebes joining the regiment of midshipmen holds little interest for me. I cover media and marketing. Have fun on Friday, but kindly remove me from your list. Anyway, I have a lot of other stuff to sort through.

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…)

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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 Curly@TheThreeStooges.com. 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!    

Best,

Peter


Hi, Peter!

Let me know if you’d like to clean my gutters!

Best,

Bob!

Anybody in the publicity trade can be a nuisance. All they need to do is demonstrate no respect for their addressees, their clients or themselves. Publicists can up the annoyance ante a bit by inserting the recipient's name in the pitch, as if the willy-nilly mass mailing were somehow thus personalized. But it takes some sort of 9th-degree level of unreality to follow the data-base-plucked salutation with an obviously false claim of actual personalization, such as in this pitch from [name redacted] of It’s QooQoo representing Medical World Americas.

 

Dear Bob,

I wanted to reach out to you directly with Medical World Americas' latest news release announcing Dr. Robert C. Robbins as the Chair of our Executive Advisory Committee. We're enthusiastic about the resources he'll bring to our event in developing the board and together providing strategic direction for the conference and plenary sessions….

To me directly? Seriously, [name redacted]? Does the term “wrong church, wrong pew” mean anything to you? How about “adding insult to injury?” Look, I’m leaving your name out of this because you are no doubt a very young marketing professional. But your managers should have told you that you cannot camouflage a mass mailing by pretending it is based on anything but a mailing list. When you try to do that, you only call attention to the sad charade.

You had no idea who was the “you” whom you claimed to be reaching out to “directly,” did you?

But I’ll bet you do now.

 

 

 

 

5 comments about "Wild Pitches, Autumn Edition".
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  1. Robert McEvily from MediaPost, September 4, 2013 at 11:29 a.m.

    TO: Curly@TheThreeStooges.com
    FR: rob@mediapost.com
    Hi, Curly? Just wondering if this is a real email address...

    TO: rob@mediapost.com
    FR: Curly@TheThreeStooges.com
    Please tell Bob Garfield to stop droppin' my addy in his column!

  2. Judy Colbert from Tuff Turtle, September 4, 2013 at 11:56 a.m.

    I love the ones that are addressed:

    Dear Colbert:

    And, I'll always remember:

    We think the people at Colbert, Judy are just the ones who want to ...

    And similar. I don't keep a list.

    ::: sigh :::

    Judy Colbert

  3. pj bednarski from MediaPost.com, September 4, 2013 at 12:56 p.m.

    Bobby--
    I don't think the American Ladder Institute thing is for you, but sort of seriously, aren't you now interested in seeing WHERE this PR release did get picked up? This is a release announcing an exhibit at which the ALI will demonstrate the latest in ladder safety. What is new there? Can I now stand on the top step? Should my ladder still be placed on a level surface, after all these years? Is it really important for me to "watch my step" or is that just a saying?

  4. Katie Paine from Paine Publishing, September 4, 2013 at 2:21 p.m.

    This really is as much the fault of the media list people like Cision and Vocus who sell these evil auto-generated lists and letters that purport to make PR more efficient and effective. Sadly, that is because for these idiots, the metrics are all about how many you sent out, not whether anyone actually saw the message, read it or believe it. The problem is not with the poor schmucks who's names are on the release, but on the bosses who insist on measuring activity, not the actual results.

  5. Marla Goldstein from Around The Bend Media, September 4, 2013 at 5:21 p.m.

    This reminds me of a piece of mail that came in to the office (many, many years ago) when I was working at Della Femina, Travisano & Partners. It was addressed thusly: Della Femina Travisano & Partners Dear Della,. Needless to say, hilarity ensued.

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