See if you can spot all the problems in this pitch:
I wanted to tell you about a new month-long Bubbles and Bubbly Contest powered by Wisk High-Efficiency detergent, which your readers will surely enjoy. To enter to win, just answer a true or false question that tests your Bubble IQ and no matter if you get it right or wrong you are eligible for a grand prize drawing of a fabulous red HE washer & dryer. And because we know that all HE machines require HE detergent, we’re also giving away one-year supplies of Wisk HE detergent to 5 lucky runners up. Also, each day 5 people will win a free bottle of Wisk HE. You can enter up to once a day for a month for the chance to win, so do come back each day for a new question and another chance to win!
Please let me know if you have any questions and if you can help spread the word to your readers.
Done? Okay. Here’s what I came up with:
1. My name is not “Mari.” I’m happy to be called Shannon or Jane; even “MommyBlogger” would be preferable to a name that is not my name. Sally has been reading too much Calvin & Hobbes lately so she calls me “the Mom-Lady,” but she’s eight, you know?
2. “which your readers will surely enjoy.” Yeah, my dad is really interested in Wisk High-Efficiency detergent.
3. “Bubble IQ.” Really?
4. The statement I got upon visiting the site was “True or False: If you swallow bubble gum it will stay in your stomach for 7 years.” I asked Sally this question in case I was dismissing it too quickly. She gave me the look and said, “that’s impossible.” If your quiz doesn’t at least require my eight-year old to think for a minute, why would I enjoy it?
6. The results are the same whether I get the answer right or wrong? Why use words like “question” and “tests” and “IQ” if this is really one of those pinko feel-good non-contests where everyone is a winner (as long as they’re chosen randomly)? Kids gotta learn that not everyone can be the next American Idol.
7. Whatever you do, don’t say what brand the washer and dryer are (as long as it’s not Maytag — like the kind Dooce, oops, it is a Maytag.) But they’re red! (same kind as my laptop) and fabulous!
8. You just said that High-Efficiency detergent is only for those fancy HE machines, right? If you do a simple site search of my blog with the word “laundry,” the first result is this post, which has a picture of my old, ugly (yet reliable) machines. I know, your time is too valuable to pretend to do any research, even the most obvious and easy two-second search. You’re too important to waste time personalizing things for me. I get it. (thanks for the ego hit.)
9. Even if I did have nothing better to do than enter a quiz that isn’t a quiz every day for a month, you think I’d want to broadcast that fact?
I noticed this email (among all the other bad pitches I’ve gotten recently) because a guy I met at a blogging for business conference emailed me the other day asking for consultation about a pitch he’s working on. (SMART GUY.)
Seems like it shouldn’t be too hard to write a successful pitch, if you truly love a product and if you’ve ever written a letter to your mom. But of course PR people can’t expect to love every product they work with, and they probably don’t have mothers, either. Maybe if they could get into some sort of headspace where they believed in X product so much they simply HAD to write home to mother about it, the email boxes of mommybloggers across the land would be a much happier place.
Now I feel bad. I sent a link to this to Kathleen, and she responded so graciously. I’m a jerk. (But everything I said is still true. — I guess this is what they meant by cognitive dissonance.)
Also, Dick tells me they’re legally required to enter you in the contest whether you’re medically braindead or not. So, my bad.