Let me tell you about the sad tale of a girl and her iPad…her almost iPad…
A couple months ago I received an email from a very well-respected PR firm that I, quite frankly, had been hoping to work with for some time. After a few emails and a couple of calls, I learned that the campaign being discussed was for Vicks, a brand that I know, like and trust. Perfect! The compensation for the work involved turned out to also be very generous, but in the end the requirements included parenting type posts including the recommended uses of Vicks VapoRub. While I had all kinds of great stories about VapoRub and my grandma as well as how it’s a miracle cure for toe fungus (I’ve heard…my toes are fungus free, thank you), I really didn’t think that I could participate authentically because I had not used VapoRub on my own kids. It was a very tough decision, but I very regretfully declined working on this campaign because the fit just wasn’t there and my time was very limited. The firm I wanted to work with, the incredibly fair compensation for my time…tough to walk away from. However, I’m the blogger who is always pointing out that our time is finite as is the space on our blogs. Every time we say yes to one thing, we are saying no to something else – another client, a topic close to our hearts, our kids, our spouse, heck, our laundry! So I walked away.
Fast forward a couple of days and I received another email from someone else in the same office offering to send me a fun gift along with some VapoRub samples. Now let me tell you, I enjoy a gift (please send all gifts to Amy Lu….just kidding), but I had just turned down that awesome blogging opportunity because it was not authentic to what I would write, and it would not be the best content for a client I respected and hoped to work with in the future. I couldn’t now take the free samples of a product I don’t use on my kid just to get the gift. Again, I politely declined. I also thought it might look strange that I had walked away from one opportunity and then said, I’m not going to write those posts for you, but sure, send over the goodies. It’s important to note that the “gift” was offered as a promotional consideration for bloggers acting as brand ambassadors to help Vicks make people aware of the new Vicks Facebook page and application, as in the “promotional consideration was provided by the following sponsors” lingo you hear at the end of Jeopardy, not as in, “here’s a gift for your birthday.” Either way? It’s fun to get stuff, right? But I digress…
Another blogger buddy of mine got the same offer and when we chatted, I let her know my situation and why I had to pass. But we also talked about how this agency was doing other fun things with bloggers, so why not go ahead and receive the box, make the connections, see where it goes. It wasn’t a fit for me, but it might be for her because she already uses the product with her kids.
And then she called me to tell me she was sent an iPad.
Let me say that again.
So after I cried for a few minutes (okay, not really, but I would have been justified in crying), I realized that nothing had changed. I had still stayed true to my goals to manage my time effectively for myself, my family, and my clients, I had stayed true to my voice on this blog by only writing about something that I feel I could write about authentically, and I had hopefully allowed that box to go to someone else who loves the rub, I mean, the VapoRub. I’ve heard from many that they stock it by the tub full. I’ve also heard more great things about the program including the clever integration of the power of “touch” with VapoRub and the iPad as well as the utilization of the iPad to share information about the product. All of this just reinforces the fact that this is a smart firm doing fun things with bloggers, and turning in half-hearted work would have been a disservice to us both.
So the moral of the story? It might be never look a gift horse in the mouth, but I think it’s that doing what feels right usually is right…even if it means walking away…