Dear PR Flack: Generic Form Letters Get Generic Results

Dear PR Flack,
I know you are busy. Strike that, I know your are wicked busy. Wait, even better I know you are wicked pissah busy! But, lets discuss the pitches your brethren are sending my way. One would assume that in today’s webtastic world of “Web 2.73” you would take the opportunity to provide a little context as to why you are contacting me or some relevancy of how your “OHMYGAWDTHISNEWWEBSITSOCIALNETWORKCONTESTFLUFFERMANUALISOAWESOMEYOURREADERSAREGONNALURVSIT” pitch will provide actual value to people who check out South of the North. So far this week I’ve received several pitches that had as much impact as farting in the wind. Lets review shall we?

First up the beer promotion!
Thought you might be interested in hearing about Brewery’s new promotion . It’s a 5-day all expense paid trip for you and three lucky friends to Name removed that includes backcountry cat skiing, lift tickets, technical gear, a custom snowboard, etc. Great beer and deep snow- sounds like a wonderful winter adventure to me!

More info is attached. Good luck!!

Fuck Yeah it sounds like a wonderful winter adventure! Hell yeah bro! I like beer, no wait, I like backcountry skiing and snowboarding, no wait I like technical gear!!! Wait – are you asking me to enter or to promote? I had so many things I like put in front of me I’m not sure what the call to action here is… other than to hit the delete button.

Hint we all read the e-mail first. It’s like a job interview or a big sale and in that scenario you gotta go with the ABC. Always. Be. Closing. Hell, if you ain’t selling the soul then I ain’t buying. What makes you think I’ll post some random contest to enhance your brand I want people who read SOTN to get something special out of this and I’m not talking about a free game of “Tune in Tokyo”. There’s nothing here other than a promo for a beer company and some lucky (or unlucky) fella will walk away with a beer branded K2 board. Now, At minimum the sender’s note was coherent which as you’ll soon find out isn’t alwasy the case. So for all those who tune into SOTN lets move along there’s nothing to see here oh wait … train wreck up ahead.

I wasn’t going to post anything but damn if this wasn;t to good to keep to myself. the best part others confirmed the same gaff. Nothing says total fuck up like sending out a form letter and not removing the generic pieces. Like this:

What’s going on? My name is XXX and I’m working with (Note I pulled this out -I’m a jerk but not that much of a jerk) More blah blah blah We built a website to show the project to the public, and it’s live now at (Again, I pulled this out -I’m a jerk but not that much of a jerk) We hope your readers would be interested in this content. If you think it’s something they would like to see, it’d be awesome if you could post a link and let your readers know about it. If you don’t feel this is a good fit, don’t worry about it and thanks for your time. Whenever we have new updates to the site (blah) I’ll be sure to keep you posted. Check out the site and let me know what you think!

The letter actually would have been perfect but the sender left XXX where their name was supposed to go. Way to make me feel special and like I am getting the big scoop. Yeah, I feel like client #10 at the Emperors VIP Club. Ew, so my replay was simple enough:

“Seriously? Did you just send me a form letter and not put your name on it? I’m confused this is like when it actually snows in Pittsburgh and the streets flow with IC Light.”

Long story short upon further analysis of their response I can only surmise that in this Brandywine branders headquarters there must have been some confusion, excessive drinking, hurried work orders and consumption of long lost Biscayne bay Colombian snowstorm because the letters I received got weirder and weirder.
So lessons learned here
#1. Put your name on things you own tangible or intangible. Like e-maiL!!! If it works for my 3 year old daughter in thank you notes for a birthday party – it will work for you!
#2. tell me. Ask me. just be clear about what it is you want me to do with your press release. Show some balls for crying out loud. if I say no. I’ll at least respect you in the morning.
#3. if you are pitching anything for crying out loud — sell it. I only know of one style whisperer and man that guy can sell anything to anybody in the world of PR. he’s scary good. why? He’s always closing. PR isn’t just sending out press releases — it’s hustling. Remember – ABC – Always Be Closing. Oh and a tip – generic form letters aren’t considered closing. Until then we’ll just keep up with the Dear PR Flack love.

Man – Alec Baldwin almost won an Oscar for that

4 thoughts on “Dear PR Flack: Generic Form Letters Get Generic Results

  1. I had to go re-read my letter to make sure I had a name in there. First thing I've ever seen a double comma used in the heading though. Must be some new skool shit I'm not up on.Hi, Justin, please advertise our shit for free.

  2. Honestly, as a PR person, I can tell you we put the XXX to stroke your ego. Seriously.Not only do we think you're a triple X big deal, but we're paying you a compliment by assuming you're as extreme as the actors in those XXX action sports movies.

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