When you work for the media, you get a lot of press releases. And I mean a LOT. Most of what lands in my inbox are press releases. Some of them are useful; some of them are less useful; and some of them… well, some of them just make me go, “…I’m sorry, what?”
Case in point: Yesterday I received a “client intro” from a PR firm I’ve never heard of introducing me to an online dating service they represent. This in and of itself isn’t that bizarre; having met my SO of more than four years on an online dating site, I’m all for dating on the interwebs. No, the weird stuff didn’t kick in until I discovered what this particular online dating site specialized in. Out of respect for the poor PR agent whose job it is to represent this site, it shall remain nameless; however, I can summarize it as follows: It’s geared towards matching absurdly rich, attractive people with other absurdly rich, attractive people.
Here’s the message in full:
“Good afternoon, I’m writing to let you know that we now represent [SITE NAME] and want to make sure we’re in front of each other on related topics.
“My client offers the most expensive online dating service in the industry and is full of verified millionaires from around the world. We have lots of sources that have had success in finding love on [SITE NAME] and we can certainly make those connections.”
“If you are interested in getting more information, or would like to speak with the CEO, we are hear [sic] to make that happen.”
…There is so much weird here that I don’t even know which part qualifies as the absolute weirdest. Is it the use of “hear,” rather than “here”? Is it the failure to mention the name of this almighty CEO we might speak with, should we so desire? Is it the sentence, “We have lots of sources that have had success in finding love on [SITE NAME] and we can certainly make those connections”? (I don’t even know what this means, by the way. I assume that it’s meant to tell me how successful the service is and that it’s great at making matches, but let’s face it: That right there is not a real sentence).
After much consideration, I arrived at the conclusion that it might be this doozy of a selling point: “My client offers the most expensive online dating service in the industry.”
Now, I am not part of the one percent, so it’s possible that I just don’t understand the draw here; as far as I know, though, “expensive” does not necessarily mean “better.” True, sometimes it does—for example, I feel one would not want to scrimp on something like, say, safety equipment for a mountain climbing expedition—but many, MANY times, it does not. At all. I suppose it might useful for sorting out the plebeians from the upper crust for extremely wealthy people who can’t bring themselves to associate with anyone who makes less than six, seven, or eight figures a year, but… well, that just makes you sound like a jerk. Not really something to be proud of.
Oh, and to top it all off, this thing got mailed to me not once, but twice. To be fair, I often get duplicates; usually, though, a duplicate means that something got sent both to our “editorial @ bettyconfidential” email address, which gets forwarded to the entire editorial staff, as well as to my own individual email address. This time, though, it got sent to my own email address twice in the space of two minutes. That’s just overkill.
I’m totally not knocking the entire one percent, by the way; I’m sure there are plenty of nice people up there who don’t care what their partners make. But here’s a little lesson in PR: Don’t pitch a client to a media outlet without checking to make sure their demographics line up first.
Carry on, Bettys!
Lucia Peters is BettyConfidential’s senior editor.