Thursday, August 9, 2007

Has She Flown The Coop?

No, I haven't taken leave of my senses, but there are some things percolating in the blogosphere that I needed to add my two cents to and mention here. Just in case you're wondering, this isn't the second part to the last post. I'll get to it soon though and to all your wonderful comments!

Since I returned from the Blogher Conference, I've been reading the many reactions and posts on Technorati. Right now, there are over 12,000 posts about Blogher and there are more being added constantly. I'm sure they aren't all related to this last conference, but a lot of them are and I've seen a few things being discussed repeatedly.

Many people seem wildly and disproportionately upset about Butterball giving out potholders as a free gift. I like my potholder. It's really sturdy, a nice color and I actually needed a new one. I like Butterball. Just about every Thanksgiving and Christmas growing up and even now, my family has one of their turkeys. I was raised on these turkeys! I like their turkey bacon too. And I'm not being paid for this just in case anyone is wondering.

I don't think Butterball was making any sort of sexist statement about women by giving these. Their products are foods that need to be cooked, which require potholders. The whining and complaining about them astounds me. These were gifts! They didn't have to give anything. They didn't have to sponsor the conference. They sponsored the food blogging session, which I was really happy to attend. There was a question in the session asking about their sponsorship. I'll talk about that more in the second part to my other post. Oh, and I heard that some people received aprons from another company and were upset about that too. I wish I had gotten one! I only have one apron.

Anyway, something else that I've been reading about is the issue of companies approaching bloggers to promote their products. Some bloggers are adamantly against it and others love it; some are in between. I think it's fine as long as there is full disclosure.

From what I've read, in one of the sessions (State of the Momosphere)that I did not attend, since I'm not a mom, a PR guy made some statements that really struck a nerve. Read about it here on Kimchi Mamas. Here is an excerpt from the post.

I also told them that even though I get pitches everyday at CityMama, over at Kimchi Mamas we get none. Not a one. Ever.

Because people of color do not matter to advertisers. ...

Then he admitted, "You're right. We don't pitch to bloggers of color." And here's the money quote: "We just don't know what to do with them."

I found another interesting post and comments here on Mocha Momma.

Now I'm not a mom blogger, so I wasn't in this discussion and most of these bloggers are new to me, but I couldn't help but think that this has probably impacted me to a certain extent too. I've been approached by a few places to promote something for them, but I'm certainly not getting many free products thrown my way. I had to stop and wonder.

Then late last night, when I should have been sleeping, like I should be now, I saw a post looking for posts about race and blogging. I submitted my post A Study In Black for Hump Day Hmmmm on The Ravin' Picture Maven. Take a look at these posts. There are some interesting comments, heated emotions, hurt feelings and a bit of drama happening.

And to you PR and marketing people. If you are interested. Do you want to know how to pitch to people of color? Pitch to us just like "regular people." Because you know what? We are.

Anali's First Amendment © 2006-2007. All rights reserved.

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karrie said...

I was in that session. The guy you quoted was a total moron. He just oozed smarminess, even before he made that ridiculous statement. I thought for a few minutes one of the women present might walk over and slap him silly. They should have. :)

suttonhoo said...

"we don't pitch to bloggers of color..." as someone whose work touches marketing, that statement made my blood run cold.

this fellow missed something important about the trade -- demographics are one way we target communications and better understand our markets -- and in my experience if race enters into consideration of a demographic profile *at all* it's because we're trying to understand a *community* better and the things that *matter* to that community. frankly, I can't remember a time that we were trying to reach, for example, "Moms", and there was any reason at all to message "white moms" differently than "african-american moms" or "hispanic moms".

to imply that you would rule an audience out because of their race or the color of their skin is flat out racist.

and so friggin' weird -- as if "bloggers of color" don't care about family and food and travel and the world of ideas and politics and all the things that all of us are blogging about...

I need to sift through my anger on this one -- I might circle back with a more articulate reply, because right now I'm halfway blind with rage. In short, it sounds like this guy was using marketing-speak to mask his own hidden biases. so sorry to hear you guys had it dished to you as if he spoke as an authority for his industry.

jennifer said...

well...since i don't like marketing in general (i find it disturbing that some company has poured mega bucks into figuring out my psychological profile based on my race, age, gender,financial status, where i live, etc, all in order to sell me something...but i'm not bitter,") i'm thinkin' "woo hoo" i hope y'all can stay under the radar for as long as possible. But of course, free stuff is nice and targeted marketing does have many pros (just none i respect ; ) Anyway, I not sure what company that idiot PR guy was from (was it butterball?) but it would be good to know what company he was from. Since he basically just said, "we here at company x are not interested in researching the desires of people of color" Good reason NOT to buy their product...

Asha said...

Butterball gloves were gifts,why not just enjoy them!! Some people just think too much!:D

*"we don't pitch to bloggers of color..."*
That is such a ridiculous statement.Some say "I am not a racist,I have black friends!" OH WOW!!! We should all be so lucky!!:D

Anali said...

karrie - That would have been great if he had gotten slapped! But then there probably would have been media coverage about the violence against men by angry women bloggers!

suttonhoo - I found it astounding that he would actually say that! I mean even if he thought it, which was wrong too, but to think that it was okay to say it. I don't think his biases are hidden though, I think they are screaming loud and in the open. But thanks for the link!

I know it's not everyone in the industry, but I've seen enough bizarre ads geared towards people of color that I had to say something when I heard about this.

jennifer - I don't think he had anything to do with Butterball, but I wasn't there. My Butterball diatribe was a different thing.

asha - I agree! Just enjoy them or get rid of them and let it go!

Tera said...

You used the word percolating...this is good!

I would much rather stay away from heated conversations or debates...I have been having enough of those in this political arena I call my job!

Mizrepresent said...

Wow, racism is alive and well in marketing to bloggers of color, what makes us different then everybody else? Our money is green and we buy and consume just about everything that everyone else does. Does not make sense at all, but thanks for sharing. I will check out those other blogs for sure...but don't want no drama.

Nina said...

I don't think anyone should be offended by the Butterball potholder. That's just stupid. But I bet next time they give out meat thermometers to cut back on the controversy ;)

Suldog said...

Well, the obvious answer, from my white male perspective, is that everybody of color should be made aware of the product lines represented by this person and then don't buy them. If they don't want to market to a specific segment, I suppose that's their right. However, they shouldn't get the benefit of that segment buying any of their stuff, either.

Jac said...

It lives and it has no end.

Cynthia said...

I'm incensed by that moron's comment and perhaps the least I say, the better it would be for my sanity.

starry nights said...

Anali I also think that a Butterball potholder was not a bad thing. I certainly think that all bloggers need to be treated alike.we do not blog about color we talk about people and that includes everyone on this planet.we are all the same inside, have the same needs and wants and the same blood that runs thru our bodies.

Anali said...

tera - I can see wanting to stay out of the debate too. And glad you liked "percolate." It reminds me of coffee! ; )

mizrepresent - No need for any drama, but I had to pipe in on this one!

nina - LOL! Maybe!

suldog - I agree, but I have no idea who the guy was or what companies he deals with.

jac - Sad, but true.

cynthia - I can certainly understand that. Sometimes things get me too angry and I can't even write about them at all!

starry nights - Hopefully some marketing people will be more open-minded after seeing all these posts.

Asha said...

You just won an award from me sweet Anali!:))

Anali said...

asha - Thank you so much! I'll put it up soon! You made my day! Sort of like Clint Eastwood in "Dirty Harry", but in a nice way! ; )

suttonhoo said...

this just showed up in AdAge -- thought you might find it interesting -- he's speaking about advertising creative, which is a marketing function:

"There's no science to art. Great creative work is stimulating not ethnocentric. Throughout my life, I have always been touched by great creative work, regardless of its target culture.

"We Latinos consider ourselves cool and hip, we're fashion driven, trend setting -- and not any different than any other culture out there. (If you don't believe me, come visit us in Miami.) When it comes to retail or entertainment spending, we're right up there (just ask my wife and daughter). When it comes to what we like -- well, we're as diverse as you will ever care to dissect.

"You see, we Hispanics share the same diverse cultural insights with most of the general American population. Culture is not only defined by ethnic background, color of skin or language. It's much more. Computer Gurus -- that's a culture. Wine Connoisseurs, that's another culture. Baseball Fans, NASCAR Fans, Soccer Fans, Broadway Fans. Members of these cultures all speak the same language, even if their accent is different and the color of their skin is not the same. They can be defined! They live in their own little world, their very own culture, at least part of the time. But even for them, a particular culture is just one slice of the pie that defines them. A doctor from the Midwest can be a wine connoisseur, a sports fan and a great salsa dancer."

Gary Bentz in Creativity is my Culture in AdAge

PunditMom said...

It really is interesting that we're all still talking about BlogHer -- what does that mean? What nerve was struck? And I'm really sorry I didn't get to meet you!

Momish said...

"Pitch to us like regular people" because we are.

Amen to that!

Anali said...

suttonhoo - Thank you so much for the link! That was a really interesting article. I guess we all belong to so many different cultures, but the ones that people tend to define us by are the ones that they can "see."

punditmom - I think I will always be talking about it now! I feel like it was a kind of tipping point. I see where I fit in and how many of us are out there blogging. What a group! I felt so proud to be there! It was an amazing and empowering experience to all be in that same space. I really wanted to meet you too! Hopefully next time!

momish - Thanks! ; )

CapCity said...

wow. wow. wow. it amazes me the ish that people actually allow to come out of their mouths. Was he a Bush family member? ;-).

Suldog has a great solution, unfortunately 1) u don't know who the guy represents & 2)sadly, it is so difficult to stop purchasing ALL of the products that are represented by AzzHoles...

i want to thank u again, Anali for keeping us abreast of the BlogHer conference and all of it's details...

Anali said...

capcity - Isn't life a trip? I should no longer be shocked by things, but it still keeps happening.

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