I don’t review a lot of products. It’s just not my thing. But from time to time, I’ll write up my thoughts on books, apps, and campaigns.
Recently, I was approached by a reputable digital agency on behalf of a reputable home appliance client.
They asked me if I would review their latest high-tech cleaning product.
With more and more product pitches coming my way, I’ve been considering doing them more frequently, and this seemed like a good opportunity.
After doing some research into the company, their client, and the new product, I agreed, excitedly, to test it out.
I showed images of the product to my wife, and she became excited to see how it could help us and other families.
The discussions with the digital agency progressed to the point where I sent them my address for shipping.
And then I got this email:
The [product] is one of our most popular machines, and unfortunately we’ve run out of stock.[Client] would still love to work with you, so a member of the [client] communications team will be in touch this week about some new and exciting opportunities!
They pitched me to review a product and set up shipping for an item that they didn’t have.
In the PR world, this is a big no-no.
If you can’t deliver something, don’t pitch it.
Here is why:
1) It makes it hard for a reporter/blogger/reviewer to trust you again. In this case, I had invested some time (maybe 45-60 minutes) in correspondence and preparation. And it won’t put the product in my hands. Wouldn’t you think twice about going down the same road again?
For a publicist, credibility is everything. You offer things to people who can amplify your messaging. So if you make an offer and can’t deliver, your message goes nowhere.
2) It adds unnecessary negativity to the process. They have basically said that my review is not worth getting more units in stock. If I do work with this agency or brand in the future, will I be able to completely remove this from my memory? Would you be capable of being impartial (or even going into a review hoping to like a product) given this situation?
I’ve decided not to name the agency or brand here, because I do hope to work with both again in the future. But this should serve as a lesson to the industry to always be able to deliver what you pitch.