Have PR people and marketing folk been sending me emails over the last few months? Why yes they have, the misguided fools.
Here are the three worst, starting with this from Manon.
After surfing your blog and browse through the relevant articles you have published about the London life, we would like to meet you to know more about you. We are a French start-up in London and we help French people to settle in the British Capital. We offer accommodations, administrative services, events and also good deals. It is about this last point that we would like to meet you.
In fact we would like to develop partnerships with the most influential bloggers in London to advise and assist our clients to thrive in the Londoner lives. We aim to increase and retain our growing community. We would simply post your articles and your blog on our website and our pages on social networks, you will benefit from our community to gain notoriety and visibility.
We invite you to meet us and talk about this partnership over a drink at the afterwork that we organize on <date> from <time> to the <hip venue>. We look forward to seeing you there to share a friendly time with our team.
Because Manon is French I can forgive her slightly peculiar turn of phrase. But I cannot forgive anyone for using the word 'afterwork', to mean a schmoozy booze-lubed shindig where people who can't write attempt to onboard people who can.
Next, here's something far worse from Lily.
I am contacting you from <PR company>, a brand strategy agency in London, Regent Street. <PR company> works with global clients to help them better understand consumers around the world and define future-facing strategies for their brands. I wanted to get in touch to see if you might be available to help with a project we are currently running, as I believe your expertise could be invaluable.
We are currently working on a project with a major UK Charity to better understand the “Maven Group”. In order to do so we are looking for a small group of extremely special “Influential Mavens” to work online with over a period of 5 days. The final Mavens will also get the opportunity to come together at the end for an evening of drinks and collaboration with the <PR company> and UK Charity team at an exciting London Venue.
We believe you could fit the criteria as one of our influential Mavens as they are people who:
- Impact the behaviour of others
- Have a key area of passion (which can range from music to fashion & Beauty)
- Are approached for advice about these key areas of interest from others
- Carry these traits beyond their own claims – spreading the word online through social media and/or blogging or vlogging
It is a really exciting project and a great opportunity to contribute to something huge. We have the privilege of working with some really influential people and would love for you to be part of this. If you are interested I have attached a screener for you fill out which should take you roughly about 5 minutes to complete. Once we have received all the screeners we can chose the final 12 Mavens and send out the Maven packs! If you could fill in the screener by Friday latest that would be great and please do let me know if you have any questions!
If you've not come across the word maven before, you're clearly not one. A maven is a knowledge propagator who commands a trusted network of social influencers (or at least that's what is in marketing speak). The word originally comes from the Hebrew for 'one who understands', and was first appropriated in Malcolm Gladwell's seminal text The Tipping Point. In short, mavens find out stuff first and tell others about it.
Lily and her PR agency were hoping I might be a maven for their charity brand. But rather than having done lots of useful research, like reading my blog, she merely threw me into her pool of potential disciples and demanded that I tell her lots about myself. Her 'screener' was a lengthy Survey Monkey questionnaire to check I shared the right brand values, and if I passed I might win the chance to jump through several social media hoops in the hope of getting an evening of free drinks with some charity workers later.
Alas one of Lily's first questions asked me to select an age group, the highest band of which topped out at 35. It was at this point I deduced I wasn't the young on-trend clotheshorse she was looking for, and wrote back and told her so. "I am terribly sorry to have troubled you to fill this out," she said in response to my somewhat blunt email, "as your blog does not give a full description of your profile." Never mind, I'm sure she sourced some shallow compliant sheep elsewhere.
And finally, Ben wasted no time in grabbing my attention.
Diamond Geezer I LOVE YOU!!
I promise I am not a stalker I just love Diamond Geezer, it’s a great source to keep my finger on the pulse of what's going on in our wonderful city. With that in mind I wanted to tell you first about <Nightclub>, a new nightclub opening in the heart of Kensington, and invite you personally to our opening weekend running 3 nights from <date>.
Amidst the saturated news dialogue that London is being overrun by the super rich, <Nightclub> offers a new playground for this aristocracy and offers its other members the chance to feel what it’s like to live as they do for an evening. We respectfully disagree with the notion that the privileged don’t know how to have fun, infact <Nightclub> is here to prove the contrary. Although we’re keeping the really juicy bits under wraps until you lucky chosen few see it for yourselves, we can reveal a few fun facts about our new club.
<Nightclub> will be the new hub for London’s vibrant celebrity community, and the club of choice for international VIPs. Every night we’re open we will have a champagne show, brought to guests by the most beautiful waitresses the world has to offer. Unlike other clubs we will have a focus on Hip Hop and will tailor our service especially to suit Chinese and Russian guests looking for the best night out in London, it can be lonely away from home.
We aim to do more than provide a venue to have fun in, rest assured glasses will never be empty, guests will never be lacking in spectacular imagery (both in decor and clientele), they might even meet our friend <Mascot>! Discretion is of course both our prerogative and priority.
Please RSVP with your name and the name of 1 friend you’d like to bring along for the ride as well as which of the three nights you’d like to attend, this is important to ensure a smooth queue free entry. <Nightclub> looks forward to welcoming you into our world.
I like to think that I can write marketing drivel for a laugh, but Ben does this for a living. I'm sure it pays well. His nightclub's unabashed policy is to pander to the super rich, inviting young R&B-friendly foreign visitors to splash their cash within an artificially extravagant bubble (hashtag unashamedlyshallow).
It was tempting to accept his invitation and turn up in order to lower the tone somewhat. But having read the dress code ("High heels for girls is a requirement and guys are requested to wear smart shoes and dress their best") I very much doubt they'd have let me and my Plus One through the door. Indeed some of us might rather burn such venues down than step inside.
But I publish Ben's email, along with those from Manon and Lily above, to highlight the woeful mistargeting of professional PR missives. I'm a 50-year-old bloke who writes about lost rivers, tube trains and obscure suburbs, not a pliable maven who'll write nice things about your latest commercial project in return for an ego-massage. Kindly send your sycophantic marketing outreach some place else.