Make gardens, not war

Sent to a prominent journalist and book author. There’s really nothing to add to the pitch itself.

Hi,

Since early eighteenth century the shotgun has been used for hunting and in warfare. Countless deer, rabbits and birds has been killed, and Countless soldiers, from the trenches of Verdun to Bagdad have experienced the deadly blast of led shots. No more.

My name is Per Cromwell. I’m a designer/inventor at ST-labs.
Today we’re launching a product I worked REALLY hard with for a long time: “Flower Shell” a shotgun shell loaded with flower seeds instead of deadly led.

• Transform any 12 gauge shotgun to a life giver instead of a life taker.
• Make gardening more FUN!
• Comes with 12 different seeds. (Columbine, Cornflower, Daisy, Poppy, Sunflower, Peony, meadow flowers and more)
• Each shell is hand made with love.
• The amount of gunpowder has been reduced and adjusted to fit the different seeds.
• More info on http://www.flowershell.com

If you want more information, piuctures or anything, don’t hesitate to ask me.
This is my dream project.

Best wishes from a foggy autumn Sweden.

Why me?

This, for reasons that are completely beyond my comprehension, was pitched to a science writer.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

UNA Pride of Dixie Band, Drum Line Earn Highest Honors at Prestigious National Competitions

By Terry Pace
Communications and Marketing

FLORENCE, Ala. – The University of North Alabama’s nationally renowned Pride of Dixie Band program earned highest accolades and honors – including a championship trophy for its outstanding drum line – during performances last week at the Bands of America Grand National Championships and the Percussive Arts Society International Conference (PASIC) in Indianapolis, Indiana.

“It was an extremely successful two days of performances by UNA band students at two of the most prestigious band-related events in the United States,” according to Dr. Lloyd Jones, UNA’s director of bands. “Not only did these valuable opportunities serve to greatly enhance the awareness and reputation of UNA on a national level, but I am confident that this experience will serve to create opportunities for other performances as well as recruitment.”

The piece goes on for quite some time about the band competition and what this win means for the students and university. The only thing I really got out of it is the fact that “percussive circles” doesn’t only mean a bunch of hippies getting together in a park, but can also mean the musical community that focuses on percussion instruments.

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. 

To be honest, my audience probably hasn’t pondered that

A helpful reader writes: “I work for a peer-reviewed monthly medical specialty magazine. …your guess is as good as mine.”

Dear [redacted]:

Don’t we all know somebody who is a good and faithful Christian, but whose life is a disaster? Why does this happen to some people and not others? Your audience has probably spent more than a little time pondering this question ― now you can give them some answers. Author Virginia Hull Welch offers practical suggestions for people of faith, and will charm your audience while she’s at it.

Please read the press release below and let me know if I may schedule an interview with Virginia Hull Welch, or send a copy of What to Do When the Blessings Stop ‒ When God Sends Famine, for consideration of a review. Thank you!

The release helpfully informs us that Ms. Welch’s next book, The Hiss from Hell Only Women Hear, will be coming out soon, too. It also offers a “tip sheet” that consists of excerpts from Amazon reviews.

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.


MEDIA ALERT

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.

If you have to ask, we rescind the invitation

This invitation to meet the employees of a new venture came without any indication of what, precisely, that venture did.

Hi [redacted],
Come hang out with Pave!
We’re hosting meetups in San Francisco and New York to bring together our growing Pave community.

San Francisco
Meet our founders – Justin, Sal and Oren – on Tuesday when they host a gathering at the Hub in San Francisco to connect with the Bay Area community. RSVP.

New York
Next Monday, November 25th, we’ll host an open house at our NYC headquarters. RSVP.
Hope to see you there!

P.S. For those of you not in SF or NYC, we’d love to meet you!  Please be in touch if you’d like to help us organize an event near you.

I’d take a bullet for all of my personalities

Sent to, of all people, a freelancer (meaning someone who is their own boss) who focuses on science and medical issues. Don’t miss the last paragraph for information that would obviously be essential for covering this story.

Would you take a bullet for your boss?

[PRESSWIRE] United Kingdom – 25.11.2013 — That was the questions asked, in a recent online survey conducted on behalf of bodyguard.ws, in which more than 1,100 people took part.

Over 70% of the participants replied “No”, that they would not stand between someone with a gun, and their boss. David Simmonds, a close-protection officer, creator of the website bodyguard.ws, doesn’t see this as a surprise, and urges people to spare a thought for the bodyguards who protect the “rich and famous”.

Simmonds states that being a bodyguard “is an incredibly hard job and a massive responsibility”. Would he take a bullet for his client? “Yes, of course, after all this is what I am getting paid for, although bullet-catching is absolutely the last resort”. As an instructor in conflict management and physical intervention, Simmonds always tries to utilise these skills first.

Notes to Editors:

About David Simmonds

Former soldier, and then Police Officer, David Simmonds is keen to point out the benefits of an Independent Close Protection Officer. Being independent involves making one’s own decision on what assignments one takes. This is a very effective practice, when it comes to clients with very fast-pace schedules, when decisions have to make instantly, without the need to refer back to the line manager. This system is much prefered by clients too, as it always creates a good working relationship.

David recently launched his website: bodyguard.ws – although most of his work comes from word of mouth, and personal recommendations. Admittedly, he built the website himself, in a couple of hours, in a hotel room in Dubai.

There’s an app for those pants, too

Sent to one of the people who also received the pants pitch:

Hi [redacted] —

I’m writing to suggest a great Thanksgiving segment idea for [your publication] — What NOT to Wear to Meet the Parents.

I’m a publicist for Postelio, a cute app that lets you quickly ask friends and family for their fashion opinions while you’re out shopping – all from your cell.

The holidays – like Thanksgiving – are a stressful time for ladies who will be meeting their man’s parents for the first time. You must find the perfect look to impress his mom and sisters — one that’s fashionable, chic and classy.

What are the exact steps you need to take to really wow his family?

STEP 1: DO YOUR RESEARCH
No one will be a better judge of the in-law’s judgment than your significant other. Ask him what his moms and sister’s fashion sense is. Check out Facebook photos from past holidays. If they look like East Coast Blue Bloods, dress conservative. If they’re total ex-Berkeley activists, try hippie chic and go vintage.

STEP 2: PACK FOR EVERY OCCASION
Bring one flowery dinner outfit, one semi-sexy outfit for a night on the town with your guy, and one laid back combo for that Sunday morning stroll with his mom. Tiny skirts are best left at home – because you don’t want them to think you’re Miley’s doppelganger – and don’t channel Lady Gaga with uncomfortable fashion ensembles that will just make Granny give you side eye.

STEP 3: BRING THE WHOLE KIT & KABOODLE
Pack tons of great accessories, especially a statement necklace to glam up any normal outfit. Stella & Dot pieces, for example, can enrich any holiday outfit.

STEP 4: CHECK IN WITH YOUR FRIENDS
We know you can’t bring your fashionable friends that weekend to help you find your perfect outfit. But you can send them your fashion selfies and ask them for advice. Postelio is the perfect app to quickly and discreetly ask your friends for fashion advice.

I can help arrange an interview on this topic with Postelio’s Ameena Syeda about dressing your best when meeting the parents. She is available for phone or Skype interviews this week, November 25.

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

Protection racket

A helpful reader (who happens to be the science editor at a major online publication) writes: “Not sure if batshit crazy PR counts.” Yes! It most certainly does. And this one tips the crazy scales because it’s about a product that proudly protects people from a risk that most studies indicate doesn’t actually exist.

Hi [redacted],

Of the estimated six billion cell phone users around the world, few are aware of the potential health dangers posed by the radiation emitted from their devices.

Due to the growing number of people using mobile devices, Green Swan announced the launch of The Cell Spacer™, a device that puts distance between a mobile phone user’s head and headset.  The Cell Spacer will help people use their mobile phones in a safe and healthy way.

If you are interested in sharing this with your readers, I am more than happy to provide you with a sample of The Cell Spacer or connect you with experts on the topic. Green Swan Founder and CEO Harry Lehmann, and/or Olle Johansson, Ph.D. at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute in the Department of Neuroscience are available for interviews at your earliest convenience.

More information can be seen in the release below.

[Links removed above because, really, we don’t want to be giving these people any more attention than we already are.]

As our submitter is unquestionably aware, a few studies have found tenuous links between cell phone use and various cancers, but these have not held up in larger, more rigorous studies. And there is no biologically plausible mechanism by which the radiation these phones emit can damage DNA. Nevertheless, the attached release quotes the PhD mentioned above as saying the dangers are so high that “To not act today would be deemed ethically and morally completely corrupt in the future.