I get a lot of emails from PRs. And by that I mean a lot, between 25 and 100 every day. Most don’t interest me; they are either inappropriate (I don’t write a lot of articles on women’s underwear, albeit it something I had thought of getting into in the past), neither
am I interested in children’s clothes, gaming, cosmetic surgery, DIY, transport infrastructure, east European rock festivals, or long stay parking. Just a snapshot of this month’s in-tray.
What they have in common though is a courtesy, bordering upon obsequiousness. Invariably opening with – ‘hello, hope you’re well… ‘ and accompanied with some contemporaneous reference to the weather, or a major sporting event. What I have never received, prior to this week, is an email from a PR describing me as both a “bit or an arse or can be”, and “patronising”. Both of which may well be true, and can be discussed at a later date. But that’s not the point.
To clarify the email was addressed to me alone, but was intended for another public relations executive (perhaps a newcomer getting ‘heads-up’ on influential writers) within the sender’s West End luxury goods PR company; a list of the company’s clients reads like a Kim Kardashian shopping list.
In fact, I am not the only journalist worthy of a mention by the PR, whom I shall refer to henceforth as Richard, Dick for short. There are four of us, all with national newspapers and major consumer magazines: one is a big cheese in fashion (I find him a bit scary myself); another is described as ‘gay gay, nice, quite cultured’; and the last, ‘completely impossible’.
Three of us, suggests Dick, should receive gifts; the big cheese two, perhaps as a mark of his status, added to the fact that Dick cannot find unpleasant things to write about him. Two, including myself, should get personalised presents, presumably from the piles of luxury goods that lie around the office, next to empty bottles of Bollinger, and iPads. The fourth (the gay), for reasons that Dick doesn’t make clear, should only receive product information.
Of course, it is impossible to take serious offence from what is, after all, a trivial gaff. But the email does lift the lid on what may be a truer glimpse of what some PRs actually think of the journalists they are paid to impress, co-operate with, and be nice to. It also serves as a warning to those of us who use computers hurriedly of the dangers of not paying attention to software protocols. One misplaced click and your entire database knows you’re an idiot.
In fact, mental faculty is a key element of Dick’s estimation. He writes, and I quote, he “…thinks all PRs are stoopid…” As I wrote in my reply, I cannot can’t imagine where he got that idea from?
Maybe I’ll click the link on the bottom of the email, and follow Dick on Twitter.