Thursday, November 11, 2010

Marketing Mayhem

I've received a few emails occasionally asking me to review a product or publicize a promotion for a company; I politely write back to dismiss them, and then move along to blathering about what I ate, what I cooked, what I baked, what I obsess about. I'm almost always here for the food.

But the other night, there was an absolute flurry of solicitations ... huh??? Kraft "thought that Food Floozie readers would want the answers to ... questions and more by watching our new video about buying, storing and freezing seafood, chicken, and meat." If y'all want that, let me know and I'll embed the code they gave me (though I really think folks who had any interest in this information could either go to Kraft's site themselves or do a search). However, I would hope you'd rather just keep drooling with me over recipes and meals and photos and the complete seductive, sensual experience that food can be. If I've misjudged my faithful followers, I apologize.

Jack in the Box -- which doesn't even have a franchise in my entire state of Michigan -- wants me to let everyone know that "On Tuesday, November 16th Jack in the Box will give away Two (2) FREE Tacos to anyone with NO PURCHASE REQUIRED. Just walk in the store and ask for your FREE TACOS. (Limit 2 tacos per customer; at participating locations only)." That's as much endorsement as I can muster ... consider yourselves informed. I've put this up more as an illustration of the drivel that's sent to me than any endorsement of the ploy ... though I do hope that those who are hungry -- and there are far too many, these days -- can benefit from this offer.

As Tomoson -- a site which appears to exist solely as a pimp for a variety of items, though they claim to facilitate "a better way of managing product promotions with bloggers" -- once phrased it when asking me to help them sell everything from bbq sauce (which admittedly fits my platform) to a pink digital photo keychain (pink, yes; useless tchotchke, no): "We currently have companies wanting to send your blog FREE Products To Review so you can use them & write reviews." I'd say that I appreciate the thought, but really I don't.

I've also been asked by others to promote Meatless Mondays, pillows with built-in speakers for playing music while I try to sleep, and even the theoretical benefits and perks of a certain credit card (and they tried to lure me with an invitation to a fancy dinner with a James Beard Award-winning chef, 'til they let on that I'd have to buy my own tickets) ... oy! Make it stop!!!

I don't want my integrity to appear compromised in any way -- I value it too highly. So I would rather write about places I've actually chosen to eat at, as well as foods and items I've bought voluntarily, rather than have any suspicion that I've raved about (or even just seemed warmly fond of) anything in particular because of having received a freebie.

Because, of course, while these companies offer trials of items with no stated demands for positive feedback, it is abundantly clear that they want to use me and my blog as marketing tools to sell their products. Uh uh. I would feel the need to be completely honest whether I liked a product or not, and I would hope that anyone who has had even the most remote contact with me -- in person or online -- would know implicitly that I was being truthful.

But there would always be a hint of taint if I truly loved a product and wrote about it, with some doubt of my sincerity because I might have been enticed by the supposed thrill of being chosen as a recipient or by the giddiness of having been sent a present. Personally, I've never read a bad review of any product by anyone at all ... never ... regardless of whether jewelry or food or hemorrhoid cream is being evaluated. If anyone else has, I'd be glad to know it.

So, I just felt the need to rant about this a bit because I'm tired of seeing these emails and having to respond to them. I'm not the sort to just hit "delete," but rather I write back (politely, too!) to explain my position so that a) they don't waste their time pursuing someone who's not interested, and b) they'll stop pestering me.

Yeah, good luck with that!

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Nicole said...

I totally get it! That's why I wrote in my Disclosure section - NO way, Jose!

I have to market for a living, I refuse to do it in my online JOURNAL!

No, I do not like product reviews, etc. I like when someone shares something they personal love... but that's all.

Yenta Mary said...

ACK!!! Another one! "MultiTouch, Ltd., developer of the world?s first modular multi-touch LCD screen for large-scale displays, today announced the public opening of what is the world?s largest hospitality multitouch display installation. It consists of seven 46-inch and seven 32-inch MultiTouch Cell LCD units set up as bar-top and lounge tables and two large wall projection screens. The innovative applications installed in Tokyo?s Graffiti Bar employ a novel interface that includes interactive visual effects, a multitouch menu for bar patrons, and information capture on patron?s VIP cards and drink glasses." They gave me contact information, in case I want to pursue this more ... oy!!! If they only knew how much I truly loathe technology, considering myself a proud Neoluddite who only makes use of what she must ... :)

Lauren said...

I got one from Visa recently about promoting a chef's event that cost $120! I'm like, what?

I don't mind doing some minor promotion, depending. POM Wonderful occasionally sends me free juice that I use and then I blog about the recipe I made but only if I really liked the product and then actually made a recipe with it. All of this other stuff is too much.

Angela FRS said...

I appreciate this post a lot (although since almost every day is meatless in our house, I would be happy to promote Meatless Mondays!). I think this is such a challenge because the choice seems to be either to fully embrace the advertising aspect--which many of the big blogs do--or, as you say, reject it all together to maintain some integrity.

Yenta Mary said...

I think the critical issue for me is "What am I being asked to do?" I participated in the Marx Mushroom Challenge, but had to volunteer to do so and then used the mushrooms they provided to create a recipe for the contest ... there was never anything asked or implied about writing a review of their product, their services, anything. It was about engaging in a hobby I love.

But there's a difference when something is offered with the expectation of my offering my opinion of it, and the presumption that my opinion will be positive. This can easily be a form of entertainment, and is for many bloggers. But that's not my purpose here.

If I had ever read someone say that the pancake batter clogged the opening when someone had tried to spray it onto the skillet, or that the bracelet was chintzy-looking in person, that would be one thing; but since all of the reviews are always positive, it's clear that it's only a marketing game ... and I just can't do that. It's a fine line, and I may tread over it at some point. I just wish they'd stop bothering me, so I wouldn't have to worry about it!

Yenta Mary said...

AAAUUUGGGHHH!!! Another one! "My name is Jessica and I’m working on behalf of State Fair and MWKS and wanted share with a really fun and exciting interactive video from State Fair Corn Dogs that Food Floozie readers will love! This is a chance for them to choose their own adventure and pick the outcome of the video. Plus if they choose the correct path there’s a coupon at the end for them ...."

Coleen said...

Yenta Mary, thanks for following on my blog:
I love your definition of food floozie.
Coleen in Ukraine

Kelly said...

LOL Yea - I get some weird ones too! My favorite was the one for a lingerie site - uhh.. have they even seen my blog?!

Candace said...'re the real deal and why I love visiting over here. Beautifully said! Thanks!

Sheila said...

I guess, on the bright side, you have a big following so this could be a compliment! But, I understand the frustration... Ugh!

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