"The only real stumbling block is the fear of failure. In cooking, you have got to have a what-the-hell attitude." ~ Julia Child

Don’t Piss off the Food Bloggers

by Julie on September 11, 2011

in Food News

This made me laugh. About everything; Big Corporate Food, public relations, social media and yes, even food bloggers.

A select group of food and mommy bloggers were invited to what they thought was a special 4-course meal at an “underground” restaurant in NYC. They were told that George Duran, a celebrity chef, would be hosting and that they would also be treated to a discussion of food trends with a prominent food industry analyst. As a special bonus, these bloggers would get an extra pair of tickets to give to readers if they registered early for one of the scheduled five nights.

Everybody knows freebies draw traffic, right? And every PR professional knows you can get your client boffo free buzz if you court the bloggers right and something goes viral. Right?

Apparently not.

Instead of a chef-prepared Italian meal, what the bloggers got was frozen lasagna from Marie Callender’s. And their collective dismay was also being secretly filmed, although presumably the flacks promised their clients at ConAgra a happier reaction. Alas.

As you can image, when the bloggers found out they’d been given the bait and switch, the bechamel hit the fan. The episode did indeed go viral, but not in a good way, and ultimately the whole debacle was examined in the New York Times, which I link to above.

Ouch. But then again, they say that even bad press is better than no press. I suppose that’s never been more true.

Next time ConAgra hires the big boys at Ketchum to engage genre bloggers like this it would make sense to insist that the junior execs — I mean the kids under 30 — handle the account. Because all I can imagine is that some senior level suit who doesn’t quite understand the power of social media, stepped in here and mucked up the works. Don’t tell them they can expect one thing,  encourage them to invite their readers, and then serve them another beast entirely. And you’re surprised when it’s all over the blogosphere by the time you’re getting your coffee in the morning?

Reminds me of my experience at a food blogging conference two years ago, where they decided to feed 300 food bloggers frozen pasta entrees courtesy of a major conference sponsor.  Hmm.  Gutsy choice.  But at least they were upfront about what was on the menu. So nobody could get too pissy. Although I was not in a good mood at the end of things.

Remember: A hungry food blogger is a pissy food blogger. And you don’t want to piss off the food bloggers.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Sandi February 2, 2016 at 7:42 pm

Did they really think anyone would be impressed by Marie Callendar’s? REALLY? Stupid to think that people they had just screwed over in a spectacular way would sign releases anyhow. One more reason not to ever buy MC’s, although I learned that lesson long ago.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: