The front-page story in WWD today is “Advertisers Go Social: Brand-Blogger Linkups Marketings’ New Rage.” Gorgeous blogger Jennine (of The Coveted and Independent Fashion Bloggers) is quoted extensively in the article. I’m glad the story highlighted Jennine’s “IFB Fair Compensation Manifesto” and her criticism of the Coach Poppy ad campaign, in which 334 bloggers were convinced to put Coach branding all over their blogs for free. Jennine has been a leader in helping bloggers understand that they need to get paid properly for advertising like any other media outlet does, rather than acting like total brand hos in return for a little free merch. She told WWD:
“We don’t want blogging to evolve into this thing where bloggers are so starstruck by brands that they lose all objectivity — then they’re not the great thing people came to them for in the first place. Freebies may be OK, but we can’t just work for freebies and try to pass off promotional things as editorial content because it’s not fair to the readers, ourselves or the companies.”
You know what else isn’t fair? I didn’t get a photo credit in this story! The stunning photo of Jennine that WWD snagged from her blog was taken by me.
Admittedly, Jennine ran back and forth setting up the shot herself, then stuck the camera in my hand and told me to press the button, but I think I did a pretty good job of that.
Speaking of companies and branding issues, I recently got an offer that was easy to refuse. Sears has hired itself a stylist named Francesca Mills to shill for its new shoe website. Marketing Daily says:
“The retailer hopes its microsite, hosted by fashion stylist Francesca Mills, will blend the feeling of blogs, social media and commerce with more engaging — and even useful — commentary. For example, a well-known mom blogger runs down the ins and outs of back-to-school shoe shopping.”
Sears apparently thought its shoes and my limited-edition fine jewelry were a match made in heaven, so I got an email from the company exclaiming that, “We would love to start new a relationship with you!” The offer didn’t seem to involve any money, just “… sneak peeks and content every other week prior to its release. These will include up to date video and lookbook content so you can review it first and spread the word. You’ll be first to hear about contests, sweepstakes, and giveaways from Sears.”
I would have just deleted this mess without responding except for this bit of hilarity:
“We’ve been following your amazing fashion advice on your blog, and we think it’s great! You are always on top of the latest trends at the best prices and you understand your audience well. I absolutely LOVE your letter rings. I just bought ‘NYC’ for a friend of mine.”
As those of you who have been reading my blog regularly know, the NYC rings are exclusively available for pre-order on Kickstarter. Three* sets have been pre-ordered by my regular customers, none of whom work for Sears. I replied:
“How exciting to find that you’re a fan of my NYC rings! But I’m concerned that your order didn’t go through, seeing as they’re only available in one place and I don’t see your purchase reflected. If you want to try again, please click here.”
As you might have guessed, I didn’t get a reply or a ring order. Sears doesn’t think my participation in its branding campaign is worth the $315 a set of rings costs. The most I’m worth is, apparently, the chance to learn about a giveaway of God-knows-what. As enticing as that opportunity is, I’m going to have to pass on it because I’m not stupid. But thanks for thinking of me, y’all!
Those of you who really want to buy the NYC rings can click here. Plenty of other jewelry is available too. Your orders/pre-orders will help me pay for manufacturing three new ring styles overseas. I’ve passed my initial fundraising goal of $7,000, but that only covered two ring styles: OMG and LOLZ. I’ve since added NYC to the mix and that means I need to raise at least another $3,000 to cover what’s now a $10,000 factory minimum. The rings won’t come till late in the fall, so think ahead and order them as holiday gifts! To learn more about why I need to manufacture overseas and why it costs so much to make relatively inexpensive goods, read this post from January.
*Only one pre-order for the NYC rings is reflected on Kickstarter because people who have ordered several different items can’t select multiple rewards on the Kickstarter page. I keep track of those orders behind the scenes.