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Never trust a PR agent with an AOL email address

Contrary to rumors, most science writers don’t live on the streets, so technically we are part of the target audience that owns windows and doors. But did it really make sense to send a press release about a specific company’s doors and windows to a science writer?

News Release
Contact: Kathy Ziprik

Therma-Tru Doors and Simonton Windows Poised to Meet Consumer Needs as Housing Market Recovers

COLUMBUS, OHIO – Following more than a year of housing market recovery, Mark Savan, president of Therma-Tru Doors and Simonton Windows, sees 2014 as a year where the companies are well positioned to meet consumer needs by producing quality products in a timely manner and offering strong service at all customer levels.

“Our focus is on meeting the desires of everyone who ‘touches’ our products, from distributors to building industry professionals to homeowners,” says Savan. “For 2014 we will continue our focus on marketing and training support for professionals and on education related to product knowledge for consumers.”

Savan reports that providing a wide variety of door styles and selections is important to the end purchaser of doors. For windows, energy efficiency elements remain a critical desire because so many homeowners are continually looking for quality windows that help lower energy costs in the home.

“We feel our companies are the premier brands in their respective markets,” says Savan. “We are very confident that if we are in a customer’s consideration mindset we will ultimately be regarded as their best purchasing decision.”

It goes on, providing both the consumer and construction perspective on these windows and doors. 


No, I actually do not like that

The presumptuousness of this one gets me. It’s off target, sure; I write about science, and this is about music. But the PR person marked the email as “high priority”, and then helpfully informed me that she knows I like to receive her PR. How, exactly, does she know this?

Dear [redacted],
We know that you always like to receive our latest news at the earliest possible date. Please find below our new media alert which we are sure will be of interest to you and your readers.
As always, please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions or would like to review any of our products.


IK Multimedia adds SampleMoog™ Mobile Edition
and Inter-App Audio in SampleTank
for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch

New version of SampleTank for iOS adds availability of the SampleMoog™
collection of instruments – the most sought after vintage
and modern Moog synthesizers of all time

November 26, 2013 – IK Multimedia, the leader in mobile music-creation apps and accessories for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, is pleased to announce a new version of SampleTank, the premium virtual instrument and sound module for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch that gives mobile musicians access to the SampleMoog™ – Mobile Edition collection of instrument sounds, plus adds Inter-App Audio features allowing SampleTank to run as an instrument app for Inter-App Audio compatible recording apps like GarageBand for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

Well, it’s a revolution of a sort…

Earlier in November, we mentioned the output a company that claimed to have a “revolutionary automated system [that] is changing the face of PR.”  The revolution seemed to involve trying to convince science writers to cover a shipping company. As we went through some of our other off-target pitches, we began to realize that the revolution was much bigger than that, and involved convincing science writers to write about nearly everything but science.

Here, for example is an offer for an interview with the man behind what appears to be a Netflix-style service for neckties:

Hey [redacted]!

I have a great feature idea for you! How about a feature about “How to dress your man for the Holidays” or “The Perfect Gift for a Man this Holiday”??! Finally there is a way for men to look their best without spending so much money! My client, FreshNeck is changing the fashion world… one tie at a time. The company provides it’s members with ties, bow ties, pocket squares and cufflinks…. all for a monthly premium… with no purchase necessary. The founder, lawyer David Goldberg, is an entrepreneur with a flair for fashion and business. The story behind FreshNeck is an interesting and engaging one and David makes a great interview…. plus this makes a perfect Holiday gift! Please let me know if you are interested in interviewing David. I’d be happy to set it up!  🙂

And shortly after, we got another pitch for a company that’s trying to bring back the handwritten note, though without the handwriting part:

Hi [redacted]!

Working on Valentine’s Day yet? Well, this Valentine’s Day do something a little different ! A KindNotes jar is the perfect gift to give, and it brings back the appreciation of a written note(remember those?!). KindNotes are jars of messages that are enclosed in mini envelopes. Each envelope contains a different message you can select from their extensive library of messages, have personalized messages written for you or you can request blank papers to write your own!  Would love to send over a sample for feature consideration! Let me know what you think! 🙂

[Links removed from both.]

Remember, these pitches are referring to a science writer by name. Either this company’s automated system has some serious bugs, or it’s revolutionary in the sense that giving a howler monkey some meth and setting it lose in my apartment would be revolutionary.

One that has everything (including pants)

This one seems to hit every single aspect of bad PR: off-target topic, questionable information, a Kickstarter campaign,  and an offer of a guest blog post from someone who would benefit from the publicity—sent to an organization that doesn’t do guest blog posts. A truly all-encompassing effort.

[redacted] —

I’m writing to suggest a fun, story idea for [a prestigious international publication] based on timely survey data: “What are your pants communicating about you on a first date?”

My name is Cody Pittman, and I’m a publicist for Barley & Britches and their Everyday Chinos.

Do women actually judge you on a first date based on the pants that you wear to the bar or the restaurant?  To answer this question, we conducted a survey representative of 1,300 respondents.

Some interesting findings on men and their “first date pants” include:

* If you want women to think you’re rich, responsible and a perfect long term partner, wear khaki colored pants.
* If you want to seem like a wild, adventurous, offbeat, or creative date, wear colorful pants like dark red or bright blue – but you also run the risk of being seen like just a hookup.
* If you want ladies to think you like the finer things in life, wear dark but still colorful pants – such as dark purple.
* Wearing green pants will communicate that you’re a world traveler – but that you also may live with your parents.

To make dating fashion easier, Sim has created The EveryDay Chino, a premium pant that fits your lifestyle and wallet at $38, comes in 5 great colors, and is delivered straight from the manufacturer.

The Chinos go live on Kickstarter this upcoming Thursday, November 21. A preview of the page is available here (for your eyes only):

[links removed]

I can help arrange an interview on this topic with Sim Gulati about how to make the best first impression with your pants on the first date. He is available for , email and phone or Skype interviews Friday (Nov. 22) and next week (November 25-29).

If you’re interested in a guest blog post from Sim, let me know as well.

Unnecessary baggage

I’m a male science writer. I have neither a personal nor professional interested in this:

Hi [redacted]!

For the woman on the go it is essential to have the go-to bag for all her needs! Every woman will appreciate rockflowerpaper’s functional yet chic carryall tote bag. It is roomy to fit every day necessities and has extra storage pockets on the sides as well as an interior zippered compartment. Inspired by exotic locations all around the world, rockflowerpaper’s carryall totes come in a variety of beautiful designs and colors. There is a tote to fit with every woman’s personality! These will make great gifts for loved ones for the holidays or just as a gift to oneself 🙂 I have attached a press release for you below.

A press release did indeed follow, helpfully including this nugget:

For a gift she’ll love throughout the year, the Torana Chevron Navy Carryall is a must.