Bloggers get sent tons of stuff. Some it’s good, nay, GREAT (such as the Philips AirFyer and Philips electric toothbrushes) and some of it is smaller, but still good stuff. Sometimes, however, you wonder what the PR officer was thinking when they sent it off. Like today’s sample of BelVita Breakfast biscuits…
I was sent some Belvita Breakfast biscuits by Kraft/Nabisco.
The package arrived today in an Express Post bag. Immediately, you get a little excited – yay! New stuff, hope it’s great!
Then I opened the Express bag and saw it was packaged in an Australia Post Padded Bag. I opened that and found a crumbly, messy pile of crumbs. And the inside of the boxes had oil spots all over it, making the sample seem quite old and stale. I received two boxes of BelVita Breakfast biscuits and inside box were six packs of four biscuits. Every single biscuit was smashed to smithereens.
The idea behind sending samples to bloggers is to showcase your product and hope that they like it, thus recommending it to their millions of readers.*
It doesn’t hurt to flatter the blogger and try to influence their opinion. Of course, that would never, ever work with me. Unless you’re a car manufacturer and you gave me a free car. Then my opinion is totally for sale.
But I digress.
The free products are tested in the home of the blogger. We use our husbands and children as guinea pigs, fodder to feed our relentlessly un-stoppably hungry blog which requires more and more words to sate our ever-increasing readership (hopefully).
We do a lot of work for our free stuff. We research the products, we test them, seek opinions and then try to articulate those opinions in funny, clever (or at the very least correctly spelled) blog posts. We also do a lot of work on our blog away from product reviews. We pour hours and hours and hours of our time into it and we don’t get paid for it. We try to find readers and yank them, by the eyeballs, to our blog and hope they keep coming back. Hope that our copy is worth five or 10 minutes of their precious time.
And then a company wants to skate in on the loyalty we’ve created and built up to sell more stuff. And they expect us to do that for free.
And our reviews are valuable. There is actually a value you can put on editorial reviews. Many experts, such as Steve Allen of Fusion Strategy, value editorial mentions at five times the value of an ad. So, for example, a quarter page ad in a metro newspaper could be worth $5000. But a recommendation in a story written by a skilled trained journalist, is worth $25,000. And we’re giving away our editorial for free, or for a few dollars worth of free products.
So when an excited blogger opens up the package the excitement definitely sags when you realise you’ve been sent some housework in a packet. Yes, the crumbs spilled out of the packet all over the floor. Thanks for that.
The other thing bloggers get are messages from PROs (public relations officers, which I think is an old fashioned term. I don’t know what the newfangled term is, but that’s what we called them when I was working for an advertising trade rag 10 years ago) gushing about how much they love your blog and how “we thought this might be something relevant for your blog and/or something for you to enjoy, particularly on busy mornings”. I suspect the PRO in question has never seen my blog and has very little idea what I write about, apart from the fact that my email address and my blog address appear on a list somewhere under the heading “Mummy bloggers”.
Now, I don’t actually object to these notes, gushy or not. They are usually young people, not long out of uni and just trying to get a job done. The client’s got a new product and these young things think that anything on the net is cool and will help them get ‘buzz’ for their product, their client, and by association, for them. Go for it, I say. Send out all the samples to all the bloggers you like. We’ll write nice things, mostly because we’re nice people and have some sympathy for people like these young PROs. After all, we were young once too.
But just spare a thought for the blogger at the other end opening the product. And when you’re sending fragile foodstuff in the post, bear in mind that Australia Post doesn’t give a shit about your client or the money they’ve spent on the campaign. If you’re sending fragile foodstuffs, like BelVita Breakfast biscuits in the post, PUT IT IN A BOX. Not a post bag.
Because when you put the product in a post bag it gets crushed into little tiny crumbs. And they fall onto my floor and make a mess. And that pisses me off. Just a little.
So, thanks but no thanks. I don’t want to take you up on your kind offer of a giveaway for my readers. Largely because I don’t want my readers pissed off at me for giving them all that extra housework.
*By millions, I do mean millions. But only if you talk about the entire blogging community. In the world. Not many mummy bloggers get millions of readers to their blog. Maybe @miafreedman does on Mamamia, but I sure don’t.