Every publicist faces an inherent credibility problem when pitching a story to the media. In their constant quest for attention -- and ink -- the publicist rarely has the upper hand. They must dutifully, as essayist Lance Morrow once wrote, "chum the waters and bait the hook, and go trolling for love and laughter..."
Gretchen Hydo, of Chatterbox PR, Ink in Van Nuys, California, recently came a trolling with a rather remarkable pitch of her own. Hoping to convince RFT -- or anyone for the matter -- to run a story on how Skypanels are a perfect Father's Day gift, Hydo wrote:
"With Father's Day right around the corner, it's time to celebrate Dad. But when Dad's in debt, or in the doghouse, how do you mark that special day? And what do you do for a divorced Dad or the Dad who has it all? Go for 'the get' -- in this case the gift -- the one that won't break your bank, the one your gadget guru hasn't gotten. We all know he doesn't need another grill (or necktie)!
"How about Skypanels?
To the uninitiated, Skypanels are light diffusers that have photos of actual sky, clouds, palm trees, hot air balloons, and so on, to help create a more relaxed, soothing atmosphere. The panels are custom designed and fit into standard florescent ceiling fixtures.
Now, about that Father's Day pitch. I reached Ms. Hydo this morning and asked, point-blank, whether Skypanels might be an appropriate gift for, say, a suicidal Dad.
"Oh yeah, if Dad is suicidal, this will elevate his mood."
"OK, how about if Dad has a terminal illness?"
"Yes, it will help to brighten his mood, because he probably can't get outside much, so the Skypanels will bring the outdoors to him."
I pressed on.
"All right, let's say Dad is on trial for murder. Will Skypanels help with that?"
"No, I don't think it will help. Because if he's on trial for murder, he's probably in jail, and if he is, he doesn't deserve Skypanels."
Is there really anything more to say?
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