Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Sundance Channel Wants YOU

You guys, social media marketing is weird. The way businesses promote themselves online is... odd.

Case in point: I tweeted a snarky comment about the prestige involved in my alma mater being picked for the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas. (Lube up with Wildcat football!) Imagine my surprise when Meineke Car Care tweeted me back, urging me to attend the game.

Why does a car care company have a twitter account? And why are they encouraging alumni to attend a bowl game? How is that tweet - which was doubtless done by an employee paid to find references to Meineke and reply to them - going to further their business interests and enhance their reputation as a good place to take your car to get it fixed? I would rather know that Meineke wasn't wasting their money on twitter campaigns, but lowering their prices by the amount of that Twitter employee's salary... or teaching him how to fix a carburetor.

(And yes, you may be saying, but Vivi, aren't you doing the same thing with your blog and twitter-ness and whatnot? Promoting your books, aka your business, instead of perfecting your craft? Wasting your time? Well, sorta. But really, this blog doesn't exist to promote me. It exists so I have a place to put announcements and talk about any random musings that trip across my brain. It's more recreation than marketing. If this is self-promo, I totally suck at it. Just sayin'.)

A couple weeks back, I wrote a blog which (very indirectly) mentioned Jennifer Grey. A few days later, I got an email from a publicist for the Sundance Channel. They had a new television show coming out, designed to humanize celebs by sharing their embarrassing childhood moments. Jennifer Grey was going to be in it, and didn't I want to let my readers at the blog know about it? (The Mortified Sessions: Mondays at 8pm EST on the Sundance Channel! Come watch Jennifer Grey and Will Forte relive their childhoods!)

Now, I've received emails like this in the past. I usually just shrug them off since 1) I'm not a fan of being told to publicize stuff. If I'm gonna publicize stuff on the blog, it's gonna be whatever random crap I happen to be noticing that week and not what some publicist with a Google Alert thinks I should publicize. And 2) I generally think they've made a mistake by sending it to me. I am not, in fact, this influential person they seem to think I am, so I'm doing them a favor by ignoring their request for me to try to influence you guys to do something.

But this time they were offering bribes! A "swag kit of exciting Sundance Merchandise" was available to folks who emailed them and told them "Yes! I'm going to pimp your show for you!" Sure, there have been other chances to whore my website and blog out for advertising dollars and "swag", but how could I possibly resist Sundance Channel merchandise? Especially since I'm such a devoted watcher (I'm not even sure I have the Sundance Channel) and there were only a LIMITED NUMBER of swag bags available!

Alas, no swag shall be forthcoming for my pimpage, because I did not reply. (And I might be about to get in trouble for "disclosing" the contents of said email... though they did send it to me and I feel like if you find some gabby chick online and send her an email asking her to talk about crap and then get mad at her for talking about the fact that you asked her to talk about crap... yeah, I'm thinking that's not sound legal footing, but what do I know about confidentiality?)

It's just so peculiar to me, the way people are trying to buy word of mouth - and it's WORKING. I've fallen victim to their evil plot. By bitching about their attempts to expose themselves through me, I have ingrained in your minds the subconscious desire to go get your brakes checked while watching celebrities attempt to be real! Now you guys are all thinking about Meineke and the Sundance Channel, aren't you? You can't help it! It's like pink elephants (which reminds me of a story about testicular cancer, but let's leave that for another day, shall we?). Ooooh, wait, did I just free associate The Mortified Sessions with testicular cancer? Oh noes! Marketing backfire!

It's a strange world we live in, folks. Getting stranger by the day.

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