I have no idea what the professional journal/conference for PR folks is, but I've thought it might be fun to do an article/panel on how not to pitch a blogger. The Cod is a small enough fish that I'm not exactly inundated with press releases, but I get a bunch, and many of them betray a fundamental misapprehension of how the whole blog enterprise works. But more on that later. In the meantime, the Ethicurean points out what might be a cannier approach on the part of Hellman's Mayo (Best Foods to you Cali types):
Last week I received an email from a professional at a world-renowned advertising agency about a new campaign for his client Hellman’s Mayonnaise. (On the West Coast it’s sold under the Best Foods brand.) He said they wanted to hear my thoughts on real food. If they liked my description, they’d feature the post on the Yahoo Food site they’d set up, where "celebrity chef" Dave Lieberman* is blogging and posting videos about Americans and real food. In case I was worried that they just wanted to help me advertise mayonnaise, oh no.
"Our aim is not to get you to talk about Hellmann’s or mayo, but to get your authentic view on what ‘real food’ means to you so we can share it as part of our site," said the email. "To that end, your post does NOT have to mention our campaign or anything about Hellmann’s."
Now, I'd never heard of the Yahoo food site, or the Yahoo/Hellman's 'Real Food' site, but I imagine it gets a fair amount of traffic. Most bloggers are sluts for exposure, and it's not hard to imagine being tempted by this kind of approach. More concerning, though also not surprising, is the totally brazen effort to claim the mantle of "Real Food." I like Hellman's and it has a place in my kitchen. It is a fundamentally different product from home-made mayo. But to assert that it is "real food"is dangerous. Not so much because of the DL Alpha Tocopherol and whatnot, as that it takes an idea "real food" that has some value as a way to encourage people to think about what they eat, and replaces it with "Real Food," which seems to mean something like a return to the dark ages of Taste of Home. Hellman's Real Food, if it gets any traction, threatens to occlude real food with Real Food, which seems to mean things like Yukon Gold potatoes tossed with a shit-ton of Hellman's.