Congrats this week to my pal British Beauty Blogger whose little missive on the tyranny of press embargoes created a mini-media storm and was even picked up on by the weekly Diary Directory newsletter. But then, the ‘beauty’ of British Beauty Blogger is that she has an unerring knack of saying what many of us in the industry are thinking.
I myself have fallen foul of the dreaded embargo when I inadvertently scooped the worldwide launch of a new fragrance (I do like to do things on a grand scale!). It’s easily done, though, especially when embargoes are not properly flagged up, or (and this does happen occasionally) when you get so excited about a new product and simply have to tell the world about it.
Of course, PRs do forget sometimes that journalists are recourceful creatures and that we don’t all sit at home waiting, like hungry chicks, to be fed scraps of news. Sometimes, we get our information from other sources – whether that’s via the internet (some products may already have launched elsewhere before they arrive on these shores remember making reporting about them fair game) and increasingly via other bloggers’ posts or Tweets. Blogs and Tweets, by their very nature, tend to be gossipy and, let’s face it, news does have a terrible way of getting out.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand a press officer’s predicament. You spend months cosying up to a big glossy or newspaper, promise them an exclusive to guarantee their future loyalty (annoying just about every other publication/journalist in the process mind) and then some pesky blogger gets hold of the story and spoils your whole bloody strategy. But if you enter into what British Beauty Blogger calls ‘these secretive arrangements’ there’s always the danger you’ll come horribly unstuck somewhere down the line. Indeed, when I worked mainly in magazines not a week went by without some embargoed exclusive alienating someone in the industry. It’s inevitable.
If I was a press officer, it would probably drive me bonkers, though, especially as I’m such a control freak, but the fact is, the framework in which the entire beauty industry operates is changing – and at an incredibly fast rate. Some companies – like Chanel – are already well up to speed with how things are evolving in terms of blogging but many others remain woefully behind, unaware of how the medium works, what it means for them and why it’s something to be celebrated not scared of.
Instead, they’re digging their Louboutin heels in, stubbornly clinging to the twin gods of magazines and newspapers, at a time when (as British Beauty Blogger points out) those mediums are shedding readers faster than the Labour party is shedding members. So come on industry, wake up and smell the coffee! Or the tuberose/tonka bean, as the case may be.
To read British Beauty Blogger’s original post click here