Bad PR Pitch #317: Shaklee / Lippe Taylor Brand Communications

shaklee logoI don’t know why I keep writing about these bad pitches that are mistargeted and demonstrate such an appalling lack of research on the part of the PR agency. Maybe it’s because one of my tentacles extends into the PR world through my work with local agencies seeking to understand and properly utilize social media, but maybe it’s the same reason people slow down at a car wreck: morbid curiosity.
The pitch this time? A competition sponsored by multi-level marketing (MLM) based Shaklee Corporation. The title is “Shaklee Announces the Cinch Biggest Loser Challenge” and the pitch email message starts out “Dear Dave” (good so far) then continues with ” I thought some of the moms reading your site may be interested in this opportunity.”
As Piglet would say, “dear d’dear dear dear”. I do not run a mommy blog (my parenting blog says right on top “run by an attachment parenting dad…”) but even if I did, why would anyone think that I only have female readers? This is an example of where it would be sooooo easy to say “I thought some of your readers may be interested…” and be more inclusive.
The bigger gaffe is that I am just not a fan or proponent of MLM or network marketing companies. I’ve written about it more than once, most recently What’s wrong with MLM as a business model?, and any PR professional who has done their homework would be clued into the fact that MLM pitches are best not sent along to my mailbox.
And yet, I get this pitch that starts out:

“It’s been hard for many people to stick to their New Years resolution to lose weight, but between cooking dinner, doing laundry, reviewing homework and attending baseball practice, this task has been especially difficult for moms.”

Now, as a single Dad, I find this pretty darn offensive. This just feels like such a 50’s perspective, that it’s Mom’s work to raise the children and Dad’s work to just earn the money.
Dunno, maybe I’m just getting cranky about this stuff now that I get 30-50 “blogger press releasses” and similar each day, but please, PR agencies, do your homework and focus not just on the big categorization of “parent bloggers” or “mommy bloggers” but also the more narrow demographics. Heck, there are tools that you could use that would tell you if a given blogger ever writes about a specific topic before you bother them.
(And here’s a free tip: most of the women I know who blog, even about their families, do not consider themselves “mommy bloggers” and find the concept insulting and belittling. I mean, men who blog about business, tech, and parenting aren’t “daddy bloggers”, they’re just bloggers. So what’s the diff anyway?)
The hard truth is that PR isn’t the same as it used to be, and that you can’t be measured by the number of releases you send out, but by pickup and mindshare.
That’s not an numbers game, it’s a targeting one.
Those companies that can more accurately target are the ones that will get consistently better results and be the winners in this pony race.

3 comments on “Bad PR Pitch #317: Shaklee / Lippe Taylor Brand Communications

  1. I love your posts like this. Go ahead, get cranky! Crankiness serves as motivation at times and certainly helps to warn those of us out there who might stay out of a mess like this in the future. Thanks for also being cranky and defending “mommy bloggers.” I totally agree, I am not a mommy blogger, I am a woman, a mom, who blogs about all kinds of things.

  2. I completely agree with your assessment – quality over quantity. I have found with marketing that like attracts like, you are in essence your client. That being said if as a business you select other businesses and clients who are similar to yourself (as an individual or business), you will greatly increase the chances of success. As you had mentioned in your article, Shaklee obviously did a poor job of targeting and therefore will not get the sale.

  3. I would be interested to know who sent that a distributor of Shaklee of if it was corporate. Sounds like a stupid way to market it. I also think the term “Mommy blogging” is stupid and belittling, we are just bloggers!

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