an open letter to marketing companies

Last week I received a random Twitter message from the golden fleece of the blogging world: a marketing company.

Marketing companies often seek out influential bloggers and offer them goods or invitations to parties in exchange for some word-of-mouth love. Some bloggers make a living out of this; “reviewing” (in quotes because they never seem to say anything bad) products and sharing their thoughts with an audience who hang off their every word. I do have an audience who may or may not do the aforementioned hanging, but I try to keep my corporate whoring to a minimum – my readers are here to read about the inner workings of my lady garden, not what I think about the new Cascade Gel Packs with Scrubbing Bubbles. I want to entertain, not sell stuff for others.

I can definitely see the allure of getting free things, though – who doesn’t like free stuff? And if all you want in exchange is a little piece of my soul, what’s the harm? I have a lot of soul to give! Send me all the free stuff you’ve got! I don’t care what it is as long as it’s free! Cat fights and pissing matches have been started online and at certain conferences; people jostling each other to get their share of whatever item is being offered. It’s gotten so lucrative for some that the government wants bloggers to start declaring the items they get for free as income – we’re not just talking shampoo samples here; people are getting electronics and vehicles and trips in exchange for their positive feedback. It’s big business, and everyone wants a piece.

Still, I was a little giddy when I got the message on Twitter because it meant that I had Been Noticed: someone thought I was influential enough to want my opinion. Finally! After over 9 years of blogging, someone thinks I might be able to sway public opinion! I made it, Ma! Are you proud of me now? I’m finally an e-somebody!

The email I received was very complimentary – the company is having a small, exclusive dinner event for a select group of bloggers. They really like my blog, and would love to have me attend if I am interested.

Am I interested? Hell yes! I like events *and* dinner, and the two of them together can only be a good time! Plus, they really like my blog – how can I say no when they’re showering me with such lovely words?

Then I read on: the event is for 25 influential female bloggers (heee!) in the Vancouver area (check!) who eat Maple Leaf products (did someone say BACON?!) and have at least one child (wait a second ..), for an opportunity to learn about Maple Leaf’s commitment to food safety and to ask questions to executives and experts.

I am upset about this on two levels, and I can’t decide which one gets more of my righteous ire:

It’s more than a little insulting to get email inviting you to events because “we love your blog and want you to take part”, only to see that they’re looking for “local female bloggers with at least one child”. Not only had I JUST RANTED about the whole “mommy blogger” crap and how much I think it sucks ass (okay I didn’t say it in those words but it was definitely between the lines), but I was wearing my Team No Babies hoodie the very day I got the email. Anyone who actually READS my blog knows that I am not just the founder and president of Team No Babies, I’m Patient fucking Zero. I have no kids. I don’t want kids. I don’t like kids. I’m not too crazy about mommy bloggers, either. In fact, the only thing that could have made the invite more inappropriate was if I were a vegetarian. It makes me grumpy when I’m told “we love your blog” by people who clearly have NO IDEA who I am or what I stand for, meaning they’ve likely never read my site and are casting blindly about Twitter for anyone who looks the part.

And why are only mothers fit to tell the world about meat, anyway? I’d be hard pressed to claim that none of my readers would ever care about meat or food safety – maybe my thoughts on the topic would have reached a whole segment of the public that you’re ignoring in your quest to get all the mommy bloggers on your side. I know plenty of people who aren’t women and/or don’t have children who eat Maple Leaf products, know about the Listeriosis outbreak, and would be interested to hear what steps the company is taking to ensure it doesn’t happen again. I have valid opinions on meat, and whether I did or did not push a bowling ball out of my uterus should have no bearing on my ability to write about them.

I replied to the email saying I would love to attend except that I don’t have any children; do I still qualify? I didn’t get a response, and that same marketing company has been all over Twitter this morning looking for other bloggers to invite so I will take that as a no. Too bad; I would have done a bang-up job of sharing my findings if only they weren’t so narrow minded and obsessed with mommies.

Men and child-free meat eaters, take note: your opinions don’t count and companies aren’t interested in what you have to say.

11 thoughts on “an open letter to marketing companies

  1. Maybe somehow having a child makes you more responsible and trustworthy, so they figure a mommy’s opinion will carry more influence than a non-mommy. BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH. That’s flawed in so many ways, I can’t even begin to guess where to start. How about Britney Spears? Kate Gosselin? Yeah. Mothers are obviously superior. *snort*

  2. ick. this company is clearly peopled by at least one idiot (or more, depending on how many people you dealt with).

    it’s not that they are targeting mommy bloggers – let’s be generous and assume that someone there has done their due-diligence on customer profiles and they’ve decided mom bloggers in vancouver are a potential goldmine, so they’ve put together a highly targeted program for that group.

    but to reach out to someone and not only assume they fit the profile without asking, but not even do the tiniest bit of research to see if asking is appropriate? gross.

    if i were running that agency, i’d suspend the offender from any public-facing activity, and fire them if they didn’t smarten up in the future.

  3. That is BULLSHIT. I will never be a parent, but I am pretty sure that I am the Governing authority on all matters pertaining to bacon!!!!

  4. Non-parents are the number one consumers of bacon! When you don’t have children, every meal can include bacon!

    I would have probably lied and gone anyway, assuming there was free bacon.

  5. I think it’s a safe guess that they targeted you as a lead based solely on the recent Georgia Straight article.

    You will likely receive a lot more propositions from lazy local marketing people who know nothing about social media and are trying to play catch-up.

    Given the standard content of the blog, I’m pretty sure that they did not read your blog before sending you the invite.

  6. I whore myself out lots yet no one offers to send me free salmon or vegetables! Well, okay that’s not quite true, but the quantity has been pretty flaccid.

    Funny that they are still concerned about public imagine with listeriosis – that was so 2009. Remember early 2010 when people were concerned about HST? Whatever happened with that….??

    I can see why they would want to focus their marketing money on parents, as this way they kill two birds with one bacon-stone. Not only do they suck Mommy into buying pre-cooked bacon slices, but Junior also gets hooked on the dope at an early age. Up next?? Cars ™ Bacon Pockets, or Barbie ™ Bacon Mini-skorts.

    At the end of day, they have still won because they got you to talk about their product and now we all want to eat bacon and think about MILFs.

  7. matchstick. don’t do it. you’ll get other invites. i started to get them but because i don’t leave my house, they stopped. BUT better ones, NOT matchstick are on the way, it seems to start with them. honestly cept the people that actually get free shit form them i know NO ONE who enjoys dealing with them. they gave me a faulty Zune.

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