Monday 6 August 2012

Dear PR. Not a Way to Handle Bloggers IMHO


Can I just say, firstly, that in no way has this post come from sour grapes, bitchiness towards my fellow blogger or anything else which I'm sure certain narrow minded twits people may accuse me of. Its just that, every so often Bloggers get treated pretty unfairly, and sometimes I couldn't care less, and some times it takes the biscuit just a little too much.

I'm not going to name and shame, I'm sure some of you will guess who I'm referring to but, for the rest of you, its a pretty big British firm, who have worked with bloggers before.

Twice now, twice people, I have been invited, even encouraged, to apply for a programme they ran this year and have launched again this year. Twice I have basically been told by two different people from the same firm who represent this company that applying is a technicality as someone in my position will obviously be first choice. 

After this happened last year, and I wasn't chosen, I found out that several other bloggers had been told the exact same thing, about it being a technicality. So, this was just a joke, and frankly, I didn't even bother to apply at first this year. The fact that, last year, we all got an email saying we'd not been chosen at the same time as the 10 or 20 who had was fair enough, if a little disappointing due to the technicality bit. 

What really made me cross was that they (the company) expected us to place the same badge as those who had been chosen on our blogs for an infinite time, for no money or reward. I don't know any of the non-chosen bloggers who bothered as it was such a cheeky thing to ask.

Cut to this year, and, as I said, I didn't bother to apply at first. Then, I happened to be at an unconnected day out and was again hit up to apply. I said I was so disappointed in how the scheme was handled last year, with regards the being almost promised that I was already chosen and the free advert bit that I wasn't going to apply. The PR even chased me up regarding applying via email, saying I had an even better chance this year of being picked. 

So, sucker that it appears I am, I did so. Such was the PR's insistence that I sign up, I was allowed to apply after the closing date. Sure thing right?


To keep up the kick in the teeth that this firm and its reps seem to find is best practice when handling bloggers, they allowed those of us not chosen to find out via Twitter when the few who were chosen started the inevitable brag all about it. Nice. 

This was Thursday by the way.

Today, I finally receive a standard email much akin to last years, saying by now we'd have guessed we aren't chosen (no shit, Sherlock), and she tried so hard to get us all picked (you know, since I'm sure I wasn't the only one who was a sure thing and is now pretty pissed off, again) and how about applying next year (err, do I look daft? BLOCK).

As I said previously, its not the not being chosen. Its the lies two years in a row, the fact that yet another firm feels its OK to treat bloggers as if our little blog is akin to jam making and only as a distraction to being our mumsy (thus stupid) selves, and the fact it took between Thursday and Monday to have the decency to email about us not being chosen. 

They wouldn't dare treat journalists like that. They wouldn't make promises to anyone else. So why treat bloggers as if we are just there to dangle a carrot at before retracting it?

Now, most cases of PR v Blogger angst pass me by, and can be written off as a bit of a silly error. But this, this is just rudeness.

So, dear company, as I will be telling you via email. Please do not email me again, chase me to apply, and treat me like crap. Cos you'll find that your emails bounce back.


  1. So brave of you to write this post. I feel exactly the same although I didn't apply last year I was made to feel it was a technicality and as such did a fair bit to promote the brand via my blog and twitter.
    I even sent details over to other bloggers of how to apply! I was excited about the announcement and made sure I was on twitter at that time and was genuinely upset when I realised I'd not been selected. Stupidly I got my hopes up and I had to take myself off twitter for 2 days to avoid the celebrations. Even now I get a twinge of disappointment if I see a post or tweet.
    I am genuinely pleased for those that were picked, but just maybe there was a better way of announcing and letting those of us not chosen down!

    1. Well, thank you for being brave enough to comment- hopefully anyone who may have thought I was being a cow will see that actually, I'm not alone in being treated and made promises to in this way.

      It is unfair, it doesn't excuse how we are left to find out second hand. I would suggest billing them for the tweets/mentions, after all, if it was because you were led to believe you were a sure thing, and then have been let down, then they owe you. I am considering contacting the brand directly as obviously the company they allow to represent their interests have no concept of how to behave towards people, and fail to even contact us when we email them for an explanation.

  2. I was ABSOLUTELY GUTTED not to have been picked and will be joining you in blogging about it.

    I have no shame in saying I am gutted.

    I feel no sour grapes towards the lucky ones who ARE going, but am disappointed with the way that they handled it.

    And I believe that they went through our blogs to read them to see if we were the perfect family (in a Disney type way maybe) - clearly mine is not.

    Anyway, I am fed up of loving brands that don't love me back, and I am not best placed to be taking it in the best way having recently been made redundant.

    Well done on speaking out.

    Liska x

    (and we are talking about Butlins for anyone who has not gathered)


  3. Well done for writing the post. I didn't apply but feel for those of who have missed out and been fed a pack of stories by the company behind this and cannot believe that they have handled it in such a poor manner.

  4. I think you'll find it was Friday actually.

    I can understand your disappointment and anger at the PR firm, but there were 100 applicants and they can't all be chosen. I have been passed up on so many opportunities and I've never once blogged about it because it's the way of this world. I honestly don't think it's going to help the cause with potential future relations, if a PR does a search on your blog and find that you've slated someone so vehemently and publicly.

    1. As I have already answered your critique via Twitter, I'll keep this to the point.
      I've never applied for something, whether successfully or otherwise, and not received a reply. The fact that the lady involved hounded myself and others, even going so far as to encourage bloggers to give the company free advertising is why I find this all the more rude.
      Obviously, in your position as someone not on the receiving end of the abhorrent behaviour of this company you would be wise to back them up, if you will. I'm sure you have entered into a contract to do just that.
      I would say, if you know my blog, I have been working with companies since 2009, I know good and bad PR, and this is definitely in the top 5.I have pointed out bad PR behaviour previously (funnily enough with another brand you represent). I can assure you PRs and brands, of whom I have spoken to many over the years, have nothing but respect for my honesty and find it refreshing as bloggers go all out to court them regardless of bad attitudes. I value my blog and self worth more than that.
      The lady continues to be rude by ignoring emails from those of us who were disappointed in her attitude. This just reinforces our belief that, now they have rung us out, they have "spat as out" as it were.
      Finally, I would ask that yourself and your Twitter friends refrain from making rash judgements on me, I had no intention of not posting, or replying to your comment, which I stand by my initial reaction as being ranty. I do not appreciate the attitude displayed when it wasn't posted quick enough for your liking.

  5. If you know me you know I love butlins and yes I was chosen and yes I even convinced a lot of people to apply. First we found out on Friday and not Thursday, second no one is guaranteed to get something when they apply, yes we all like to think we would but that's like being put up for an award and not winning, its just the way it goes. I personally think they did well to send the email to say you didn't get it, most companies wouldn't even bother to do that. Also it is not a PR that does this but the company direct.

    I am sorry for every single person who wasn't chosen and I know that they wish that they could have given everyone a free holiday but there is no way they could do that within their budget.

    I hope you feel better after writing this and have got it out of your system because personally I think they are a great brand and I have done since before I started blogging and since I started communicating with them they have just proved themselves to be as good as I thought.

    1. I first saw tweets late Thursday.
      Again, I'd ask if you are another "chosen blogger" who, rather than reading the full post has just decided (wrongly), that I am being disparaging of the bloggers chosen. It isn't about the not being chosen. It is the lies that this company have been using to use bloggers. Not one year, but two years in a row.
      I believe bloggers deserve better, and deserve to be treated with respect at all times, not just when this company (or any other) is seeking to use us for their own gain.
      I do not think its so difficult for this company, who had no issue with lying and chasing myself and others to apply under false pretences, to have had the common courtesy to email on the same day as those who were successful. To then be nothing but ignorant to us, well, as I have said previously, its totally unacceptable.
      I will be contacting the company direct, and advising others to, both to ask for payment for the free advertising several have given them due to their lies, and to advise them against using certain staff members in future.
      I am glad you "like" the brand, perhaps that's why you were chosen. The fact they don't make clear what their criteria for choosing bloggers was makes me feel perhaps this is why some of you were chosen. Perhaps, as I asked the contact I wasn't chosen as they do not value honest reviewers- I would have thought offering them coverage on two top ranking blogs as well as tweets to near on 4,000 people would have been enough. We'll never know due to her ignorance. I'm also glad you find them good at communicating, obviously they wish to keep you on side, hence their ignorance to the rest of us. I would ask you read the comment below regarding another successful bloggers experience.
      I also wish to add I certainly do not care about the holiday, I'm quite sure I can afford something to compete with Butlins- I went in 2010 and found it quite lacking to be honest and quite "package holiday hell"- hence I wanted to see if they'd improved.

  6. Missed all the drama, as I do most things nowadays. But when the details came through about what was being asked of bloggers who did become ambassadors I decided it was not for me. To mandate writing x number of post, so many tweets, I felt was not in the spirit of blogging. What if I hate the place... having never been?

    1. So, may I ask, did they expect you to be 100% honest at all times, or did they demand positive posts regardless? If so, that's certainly not in the spirit of blogging and asking bloggers to do that makes me even more angry towards their attitude. You cannot simply give bloggers a free holiday and a camera and expect us to turn a blind eye to any negatives. If they had any faith whatsoever in their brand, they would swallow and act upon any negativity, not seek to brush it under the carpet. Again this makes me question their choosing certain bloggers. I have always reviewed honestly as I felt, after trying out a gadget after reading a positive review only to find the review was glowing for the wrong reasons, let down by bloggers who were not honest. I did not want someone taking my advice only to feel ripped off, and thus walk away from my blog. I blog and review with integrity, and always have done so.
      I would suggest joining those of us who will be contacting the brand directly and explaining your experiences to them, perhaps then the company can see where their staff have sunk to in pursuit of free advertising.

  7. I know little about this particular situation so am in no position to comment, but do find your opinion honest and refreshing.

    On the more broad subject of PR etc, is it being used more widely than before or has it always been like this?

    I'm relatively new to blogging, and have inadvertently found myself on the edges of the community, but find the whole business leaves a nasty taste.

    Twitter seems awash with giveaways, advertising (some blatant), a desperation for retweets and followers,as well as what appears to be posts for the sake of posting?

    I accept I'm naive within blogging circles, but it all seems to go against the spirit of twitter, and I can't help but see it as pathetically desperate?

    I appreciate I can choose who to follow (and regularly have a twitter cull) but I was really wondering if its always been this way? I love finding new blogs but am getting fed up of reading half a post before suspecting there's PR somewhere behind the words which is really sad.

    FYI, I love your blog and this is no way aimed at you, but you seem to have a fair bit of experience of it all so I'd love to know how you see it?

    All the best,

    1. Hi Mark and welcome.

      I have been around the blogging world for quite some time now, since 2006 in general but this blog is from 2009 onwards.
      Sadly, it hasn't always been this way. I agree with your very sharp observations of Twitter. I was there from the start and it used to be great, late last year I think I posted on the subject of how Twitter used to be a talkative place but now feels like an ongoing exercise in bringing people to read your post. You could have lively debates without people getting the wrong end of the stick. I sometimes feel that certain people deliberately get the wrong end of the stick to up their own hits and follows. I certainly feel that nowadays you are lambasted for having a differing opinion. Not that it stops me!

      I'm an advocate of bringing back the good old days of blogging for bloggings sake, yes its nice to work with brands (as I have since late 2009) who understand how to treat bloggers so as not to cause arguments. There are good and bad in both bloggers and brands/PRs, as well as in Twitter feeds. However, I would never work with a brand I felt took advantage, and it wouldn't ever effect my blog, my writing, or my honesty.

      I like the culling idea- if you find what someone says boring or not for you, then why should you carry on following? Again, sadly, there are people who feel they shouldn't unfollow people in case they become an outcast.

      You know, I'm on the outside of blogging circles, and choose to be. Sometimes, when I was in the center of it all a few years back, it was just too much like being back at school!

  8. I'm sorry you feel you've been badly treated. I can't comment on that side of things, but as one of the first Butlins Ambassadors I just wanted to say that there is certainly no pressure to write positive reviews.

    1. That may be your experience Emily, and I thank you for taking the time to comment. However, from what I've been told by last years reviewers, and this years, its certainly not run fairly and they do expect reviews to be positive.

    2. In the application form there was certainly a sentence along the lines of, don't write about it till you give us a chance to rectify it first.
      Something in that vein x

  9. Hi The Lazy Girl. My name is James and I run the Butlins Ambassadors programme. Over the last few days I have read your tweets and this post, and I am still completely in the dark about this situation.

    At no point have I, nor anyone in my team, promised anyone that they'd be guaranteed a place.

    You mention in your post about speaking to a girl - please can you let me know who this is, as I am the only person that makes the final decisions about who is successful or not so I am not sure who you've actually been talking to?

    Additionally, I have not chased anyone to apply, so your comment "The PR even chased me up regarding applying via email, saying I had an even better chance this year of being picked." is very confusing?

    This year, we have only 'recruited' bloggers at Britmums Live, and having been there personally, I can say that we have not forced anyone to apply, or chased anyone afterwards. We have also never invited anyone to join - the application forms are online, on our social channels and as mentioned above, we're at Britmums Live each year.

    As mentioned above, I make the final decisions, along with my team about who is chosen, so I am most concerned when you've said: "Twice I have basically been told by two different people from the same firm who represent this company that applying is a technicality as someone in my position will obviously be first choice." - We do not work with anyone else on the programme - no agencies, no PRs, it's just me and my team.

    Please can you shed some light on who you've been talking to, so that we can get to the bottom of this?

    I really hope that you'll come back to me. You can contact me at

    Thank you,

    Butlins PR and Social Media manager

  10. Hello, sorry I did not realise that this was an old post and thought it was referring to the current Ambassador programme. My previous comments still stand however. Thanks, James


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