How NOT to market to me

In a prior post, I mentioned how I get pitched crap from Public Relations and marketing people pretty regularly here at Blogger Dad.

People want me to open up my space here to sell you all sorts of stuff you don’t want or need. Such as:

  • get rich quick schemes
  • home improvement items
  • miracle weight loss pills
  • shady blogging affiliate programs
  • and tons of other questionable products

The funny thing is how these marketers approach me in emails. They act like big fans of the blog (even if they can’t always remember my name) who just want to offer me an opportunity. How nice of them.

They think if they say some nice words or offer me some free samples of whatever they’re pitching, that I’ll let them advertise here for free or will write a review and do their work for them.

Does this actually work on other bloggers? Are there people out there who are so eager to be liked or get some free trinkets that they’ll sell out their space and their readers?

Last week, I got an email from a PR person, asking me to help pitch a contest for a candy bar company. I am including the email below. I’ve deleted the name of the person, her company and the product, so as not to be a complete jerk.


I hope you will forgive this email out of the blue! My name is _______, and I work for_________ a PR agency. We are currently working with ________ on their latest campaign and new competition, to find the new face and personality of (a chocolate bar.)

________ is launching a search throughout the UK and Ireland to find six funny kids between the ages of 4 and 11 to appear on the front of the iconic packs (and it hasn’t changed for the last 12 years!). Having read your blog, I thought you may be interested in highlighting this campaign and competition; for you and your family to possibly take part and for your readers who may be interested in getting involved!

Parents or guardians will be able to take part in this competition by submitting a picture and a funny quote from their child, or even a cute anecdote. 100 children with the most public votes will become our semi finalists. 30 children will then be short-listed by a panel, including a celebrity judge, who will all be awarded great prizes.

If you would like to find out more about this campaign and competition, please let me know and I would be more than happy to provide you with more details and information.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Warm regards,

Now I know I am likely overreacting to this particular email, but let this serve as a warning to all marketers who want to pitch to my readers.

Don’t pitch me crap.

The thing that ticks me off most is how she claims that after reading my blog, she felt I would love to promote her candy pimping contest aimed at kids aged 4-11.


What did you read that led you to this conclusion?

  • Was it something about my two year old son, who is still two years away from being of age to enter the contest?
  • Was it my rant about being overweight most of my life and trying to ensure my son eats healthy?
  • Maybe it was one of my comics aimed at soulless marketers pimping crappy stuff to kids?
  • Maybe it’s that I don’t live anywhere near the UK, where the contest is being held?
  • Maybe it was my post about my cousin being robbed and shot by  a man dressed as a candy bar?

Okay, that last one wasn’t true. But it doesn’t matter because I’m fairly certain she isn’t reading this blog.

It’s not that I am above advertising

Just don’t blow smoke up my butt. Treat me and my readers with some respect. Or in the very least, offer me something I actually want or something I won’t feel like a fraud or an irresponsible bastard for selling to my audience.

Like a PlayStation 3 or an X-Box 360.

So, in the category of ‘You Wanted it, You’ve Got it’

I decided to go ahead and help you spotlight your contest, after all. No, my son isn’t old enough to pimp your sweet treats. So, I decided to use my artistic talents and present you with the perfect child for your campaign. A child who should fit well with your target demographic.

If you’d like to thank me, I’ll take a free box of chocolates.


So, what kind of products have you been pitched? Is there any product mention you’ve ever regretted doing on your blog?

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37 Responses to How NOT to market to me

  1. Oh lordy, don’t mess with Blogger Dad!
    Loving the picture (hmm, wonder which chocolate bar it is . . . )

    Tara@Sticky fingerss last blog post..Love is . . .

  2. Blogger Dad says:

    The irony is, judging from the pictures I saw of the candy in question, I am kinda curious what it tastes like.

    And oh yeah, I need to add one more thing – the fact that I don’t even live in the UK!

  3. exmoorjane says:

    Think we’re running behind you here in the UK as still waiting for hoards of PRs to beat their way to my blog.. So far just been given some nice DVDs and had a pretty groovy trip to DisneyWorld so can’t complain.
    Think your fundamental point is spot-on though – if you can see through it, your readers will see through it too and vote very firmly with their mouse. Suspect we’re going to get a lot more of it though as the world’s media discovers blogging isn’t just for sad geeks.
    btw, if there ARE any Xbox360s up for grabs…….. ;)

    exmoorjanes last blog post..Mice biting, dogs peeing, tum-ti-tum

  4. I don’t know what’s worse getting this kind of fake love or not getting any interest whatsoever. Sorry for the shameful plug but just look at what I’ve had to deal with recently…

    Marc – WelshScribes last blog post..How to Destroy Your Chance of Getting a Link to Your Website

  5. urbanvox says:

    I’ve been pitched by an online gambling website AND by a well known Atheist group…
    The interesting bit is… I am an ordained evangelical minister….
    OK… most of the stuff I blog about don’t really go with what most pastors would say… but… WTF!!!!

    I would love to know what sort of criteria they use when selecting the means to advertise their products…


    urbanvoxs last blog post..La Cage Aux Folles, a review ;)

  6. Marylin says:

    I’ve never pitched anything on my blog… although I do keep mentioning Moleskines at the moment. Maybe I should set up some sort of affiliate fund for that eh? ;) I’m curious as to what the chocolate bar is… I’m in the UK, and next month I will have a 4 yr old! ;)
    The fake plugging really sucks though, I’ve had similar things sent to me as well.

    Marylins last blog post..Photohunt: Books

  7. DCUrbanDad says:

    I am waiting for the Depends PR people to come clamoring for DC Urban Dad.

    DCUrbanDads last blog post..Ear hair, man cold, ducks, smoothies – Random Thoughts by DC Urban Dad

  8. Writer Dad says:

    The best one I ever got was from Pro Flowers. They wanted to give me eight coupons for free flowers from for saying how awesome they were. The lady who sent me the email said she was a “big fan” who read every day and that she “especially liked yesterday’s post.” OH! You mean the one about how the flower shop my family’s had for thirty years is going out of business, largely in part to companies like Pro Flowers?

    Writer Dads last blog post..May

  9. Emma Newman says:

    Urgh. I feel soiled now. That letter was just so awful. Not only the fact that they were targeting a person with ideals that are the complete opposite of what they were looking for, but also the sheer, inherent evil of what they are so (fake) excited about. I apologise on behalf of the UK. We’re not all that bad.

    The rampant overuse of exclamation marks got on my nerves too. PR bunnies… they’ll be second against the wall when the revolution comes, right after the ‘reality’ TV show producers.

    Emma Newmans last blog post..Confession

  10. Chris says:

    LOL….great post! On the bright side, your blog is successful enough to draw attention like this.

    Superb advertisement!

    Chriss last blog post..Icky Slapdashery

  11. Kyddryn says:

    Oh, good grief.

    No one’s marketed anything to me, of late…but I’m hardly suprised at that. Small blog, big Blogopolis. :-)

    I adore the illustration – finally, truth in advertising!

    Shade and Sweetwater,

  12. Kyddryn says:

    Oh, good grief.

    No one’s marketed anything to me, of late…but I’m hardly suprised at that. Small blog, big Blogopolis. :-)

    I adore the illustration – finally, truth in advertising!

    Shade and Sweetwater,

    Kyddryns last blog post..I Don’t Have a Title for This

  13. Trina says:

    ya, how could we possibly survive without the spread of such useful services…pffft! I taught my kids early on about the ills of marketing, will share these ongoing tactics too. Should create an interesting discussion here. Way to take a stance BD!
    Also, what does it say about the complete thought processes of the individuals who ‘promote’ in this manner, they represent who?

  14. Man, nobody ever pitches anything to me. I do not know why, my blog’s the shit, yo.

    Nokia did send me a super sweet phone to try out for a week, which I’m still really super puzzled about, but it was fun.

    @WriterDad, that’s hilarious in an ouch sort of way.

    Tracy O’Connors last blog post..Paying the Piper

  15. Lori Hoeck says:

    How funny! I like how you turn irritations into humor for us all.

    You’d think that with all that’s been written by people like Seth Godin, marketing people would understand transparency is the better currency.

    Lori Hoecks last blog post..Self Defense with ‘Heel Palm Strike’

  16. Lori Hoeck says:

    I like the way you turn life’s irritations into humor for us all to have a laugh!

  17. Jennifer says:

    My blog isn’t all the big so I haven’t really gotten any pitches per se, but a PR firm did want me to blog about their paint…… I’m not sure how they connected me with paint. I just hit delete.

    Jennifers last blog post..The Mystery Rash

  18. Too funny. First of all, I’m realizing how small and insignificant my blog really must be, seeing as how I haven’t been approached by any marketing/PR people. Maybe that’s the silver lining. :)

    Second of all, and more importantly, I LOVE your candy bar art. It’s amazing to me that so many people want to think “KIDS + CANDY = GOOD!” Right? They’re thinking “I’m not asking you to push tobacco products on teens or anything.” But the problem with sugar/obesity/diabetes is not a small problem. It’s a huge long-term health risk, and can rule kids like an addiction. (Btw, I certainly let my kids have something sweet every day—it’s all about moderation.)

    Kristin T. (@kt_writes)s last blog post..Removing the guilty from the pleasure

  19. On behalf of PR/marketing folks everywhere, I apologize, since most of us research our target markets and the media we have to use to reach those markets.

    As a small-time mommy blogger, I haven’t received a lot of pitches, but like you, it appears I get some of the basics.

    Anytime I mention my diet changes/exercise, I usually get requests from the latest and greatest in weight loss drugs or programs. When I post about playing online games with old college friends, I receive offers to try out the latest gaming community. I’ve had a few contest/modeling for children folks contact, asking me if I would feature their information on my blog, since “other moms like me will appreciate the opportunities my blog will provide.” (That last one made me gag a bit.)

    And yes, I really love how they always say they are a reader of your blog. If they read my blog, they would know it is a family/mom blog. The only products/services I talk about are ones that truly impact my life. (That being said, I’ll take an iPhone, Wii, XBox, etc. – marketers?)

    RC – Rambling Along…s last blog post..Illustrating the allergy

  20. GreenJello says:

    I was contacted by an outdoorsy supply type of place– they would give me one free item off their website of my choice, in exchange for a link on my sidebar.

    I responded that I and my hubby would be more than happy to trial their products, as we do a fair amount of hiking, etc. Then I’d blog about the product, and give one away (that they would provide).

    They didn’t seem too keen on that idea, so I haven’t pursued it further.

    GreenJellos last blog post..Random Tuesday Thoughts

  21. urbanvox says:

    how come nobody offers me anything good?????????????

    urbanvoxs last blog post..La Cage Aux Folles, a review ;)

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  23. feefifoto says:

    BD, what got to me was the persistence of the woman who wanted me to review something or sponsor something, on a blog that I clearly haven’t updated in two years; I keep it active just so I can plagiarize from it a couple times a year. She kept emailing me, urging me to participate in whatever she was offering, and insisting that my readership would love it. I barely had any readership there when I kept it active.

    feefifotos last blog post..We Didn’t Get The Memo: Vacation Is Supposed to Include Relaxation

  24. Yolanda says:

    Wow…I feel so bad chuckling at that cartoon as I did. I guess it’s because my boyfriend actually does have diabetes and tells me all the time about how he used to crave candy and donuts when people ate them in front of him — to the point where he always wound up in tears.

  25. janice says:

    I love your rants – you do them with such finesse. I enjoyed recognising the ad, too. ;) Nicely done. (There would have been an exclamation mark, but I haven’t seen Emma as angry as she is today, what with Marc’s post and now yours, so I don’t want to make things worse.)

    janices last blog post..A Patchwork Post: Authenticity Quotes, Book Giveaway Winners, Link Love and Spiritual Pioneering

  26. Blogger Dad says:

    I’m not sure what surprised me more, that so many PR people liked this post or that the post was so well received. Two people I usually ask their opinions of when considering a rant thought this one was too mean spirited and that I was picking on the woman who wrote the email. Of course, they hadn’t read the post, and only heard my unedited thoughts, which may have been a bit more harsh, and obscenity laced.

    Kat – Well said! Thanks for sharing.

    exmoorjane – Okay, you got a trip to Disney and DVD’s and so far, I’ve been offered crappy home products and other junk I wouldn’t use. I will add that I recently received my first wanted product, a book, which I will mention in a future post. Thanks! And stay away from the video game systems, you already had your share of fun!

    Marc – Those bastards used my url! And I’d rather have no love than fake love any day of the week. Believe me, it took me a long time to get my comic to be somewhat popular. Lots of toiling away with little support, but eventually things worked out.

    urbanvox – LOL. I didn’t even know atheist groups advertised. I’ve got no problem with what people believe or don’t believe. However, I’m a bit jaded with many organized religions’ need for constant money to support their own wealth building enterprises. I think George Carlin made a comment about how many atheist groups are actually becoming very much like the religions they criticize.

    Marylin – Well, you ought to contact a PR person for Moleskine and offer to pimp their stuff.

    DCUrbanDad – LOL! That is awesome!

    Writer Dad – LOL. What did she say to that? Stupid jerks!

    Emma – no need to apologize for the UK. Most of my favorite people are from there. Your last line reminds me of a line from Karma Police. “This is what you get, when you mess with us.”

    Chris – Thanks! And, if I were REALLY succesful, those bastards at Sony or Microsoft would be knocking down my door to give me a free video game system!

    Kyddryn – Thank you. And you probably DO get pitches like I do, you just have to go through your spam filter and you’ll find plenty, I bet. That’s where all mine usually go.

    Tina – Thanks. As for the thought processes, I’m sure their tactics work just fine as many people will surely gladly accept the opportunity to whore themselves and their kids out for candy bards.

    Tracy – Nokia sent you a phone for a week? What the hell is THAT all about? As for not getting these “great” offers, I can pass your email to these marketers, if you wish?

    Lori – Thank you. I’m glad my suffering has provided some laughs.

    Jennifer – Yeah, that’s just the kind of crap I get, too.

    Kristin – Thank you, and you’re dead on. As for the marketers, just let me know, and I can pass on your email to them!

    RC – Thanks! I should probably start blogging MORE about the things I want people to send me and hope for the best! It never ceases to amaze me how many vultures are competing for our cash or to exploit us or our children.

    GreenJello – Wow, that’s pretty crappy of them. You should post a link to their competitors.

    urbanvox – Maybe the gambling sites will offer you some free chips that you can cash in?

    feefifoto – You should have taken it and just commented on how the product made you vomit/lose an appendage/caused rapid weight gain or something else.

    Yolanda – Used to crave donuts and candy? Does he no longer crave them or has he just said, ‘screw it, I’ll take my chances’?

    Janice – Thanks, I could probably write a rant a day, but it would get tiresome (just ask my wife).

  27. Ribbon says:

    It’s never happened to me…

    glad it happened to you as it made for a fun read.

    best wishes

  28. Jen says:

    It’s really amazing how unbelievably clueless advertisers are sometimes (and I’m married to one… but he’s not clueless). Your reaction is hysterical… and appropriate. It takes 20 minutes of research to keep from making an idiot out of your company when you sell advertising… why don’t they think.

    I’ve not really marketed anything on my blog and I’m happy with that. Maybe someday but not now so no horror stories here.

    Jens last blog post..Playing catch up

  29. Patricia says:

    I had to beg to pay me to pitch their books and pay me for my reviews…after all they paid me for reviews for 12 years before the blogging world started doing it for free.

    I test and sell vitamins but I do not put the ads on my blog, because they are a personal choice and not all vitamins are the same.

    I can’t say I have hit the delete button very often in my year of blogging…so I guess I am not in your league
    Good post and I learned something here Thank you

    Patricias last blog post..How We Met Entry #3

  30. Blogger Dad says:

    Patricia – Not in my league? Who are you kidding? Your blog is awesome. Maybe the marketers figure that a blogging dad is more gullible to win over?

    Jen – Thanks for weighing in. And I don’t have anything against advertisers. I believe there IS value in advertising – the right way. Value for both the advertising company, the consumer and the person carrying the ads.

    Ribbon – Thank you.

  31. elmot says:

    ahhaha! this is very funny post! so many marketers and advertisers are asking for your precious space here on your blog…the funning thing is that they are bugging you already of things that as you precisely pointed out, things that you and your readers do not actually need.

    elmots last blog post..Juggling Work, Thesis and Blogging This School Year

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  34. I agree.. those were junk. There’s no such thing as easy money. We have to work our asses to get a slice of the action.

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  36. Matt says:

    Not gonna lie. That was harsh. It was a nice email and she expected nothing. Just offering. Some PR people can be very bad, most are fine. The PR people who like the post are most likely just kissing your butt.

    A bad PR pitch is when you try to get a sports blogger to write about Oreo cookies because Player X, who they signed to an endorsement deal, rrreeeaallllyyy does eat them.

    Anyway this is a fun blog. Good stuff. Stop being mean to PR people, we really do control all public perception and 80% of media stories.