O2′s blogger relations campaign for Cocoon

With more than 20 years in public relations I’ve convinced more than a few journalists to take a look at my clients’ product. One of the interesting things about writing a (reasonably) popular blog is that I now receive several pitches a day, and even quite a few people offering me products to review.

The most striking thing about most of them is how bad they are. I try to be a nice chap so unlike some bloggers I don’t ridicule the senders, but simply ignore them. I do find it worrying that some of these approaches come from big some PR agencies, that claim expertise in social media and online PR but don’t actually deliver and that charge fees to match their size. I don’t like to see clients being ripped off by PR firms as it tarnishes everyone else.

However, last week I said yes to offer from Peter Kwong of VCCP who is working on behalf of 02 to promote the new O2 Cocoon phone. Because of screw-ups (by Royal Mail, not Peter) I finally received it yesterday.

What impressed me is that Peter works for an advertising agency – those folks that like to control the message and talk to you, rather than with you – and he did a better job than the big agency PRs who’ve approached me.

VCCP has done a good job with its blogger relations programme and deserves credit. I can think of lots of ways it could be improved, but as I’m talking to a potential client about that at the moment I won’t share them here (although I’m happy to here your ideas in the comments and I will credit you with them)!

My first thoughts on the phone follow in the next post.

UPDATE: David Brain quite correctly chastises me for blaming big agencies for bad pitches. He’s right bad pitches come from big and small agencies. It was just that the last couple I received were from big ones, which is probably what irritated me. Sorry. And in Edelman’s defence it is one of the good guys – despite being big! One of the problems that all agencies face as they grow is how to maintain consistent quality standards. Recruting good people and providing training can only go so far.


About Stuart Bruce

International communications consultant and PR trainer specialising in online public affairs, digital corporate communications, online PR and social media; frequent national media commentator and conference speaker.
  • http://www.sixtysecondview.com David Brain

    ho hum, ho hum . . . man who owns small pr agency criticises big PR agencies. . . . .wonder what his incentive is? Stuart, you were much more interesting when you were not so keen to push your brand new agency . . amazing what ownership does. Congrats your blog is big enough to attract pitches . . I too get crap pitches (mostly from small proprietor owned agencies since you ask . . oh you didn't . . but if you had . . . I would have told you that), but I don't bore people with them. You are great on big subjects so why don't you leave this stuff to the tiny minded? Come on mate . . look up again!

  • http://publicsphere.typepad.com/mediations/ Philip

    David, I am not sure that this is a 'small guy hits out a big guy thing,' rather that Stuart, like a few others, was pleased to see an agency engaging with the PR bloggers with a degree of sensitivity. The fact that we chose to comment on it (positively) suggests that such sensitivity and creativity in targetting is still something of a novelty.

    VCCP have managed to get their campaign talked about (admitteldy by a small and self-selecting group). Whether this group matter is something else entirely…

  • http://blogtillyoudrop.wordpress.com Lolly

    VCCP also contacted me – a number of bloggers agreed that they did a pretty good job but no follow-up to date…