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12/18/2012
03:00 PM
Fritz Nelson
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PR Gone Wild, 2012: 12 Hall Of Shamers

We get a lot of bad public relations pitches during a year, but these 12 speak for themselves. Enjoy, but please think carefully before paying for a FaceTime facelift.

In the name of honest journalism (and, sure, an excuse to finally clean out our spam folders), we went looking for the most cringe-worthy press pitches of 2012 from our brethren in public relations and we found some gems.

Many of them are sexual in nature. Not sure what that's about, given that we are a technology publication.

Names have been withheld to protect the innocent -- or left in for maximum impact.

1. And Skype makes my ass look big.

"Robert K. Sigal, M.D., board-certified plastic surgeon in the Washington, D.C.-area plastic surgery practice The Austin-Weston Center for Cosmetic Surgery, is seeing firsthand technology's direct effect on the demand for plastic surgery. 'Patients come in with their iPhones and show me how they look on FaceTime,' says Dr. Sigal. 'The angle at which the phone is held, with the caller looking downward into the camera, really captures any heaviness, fullness and sagging of the face and neck. People say 'I never knew I looked like that! I need to do something!' I've started calling it the 'FaceTime Facelift' effect. And we've developed procedures to specifically address it." [Editor's note: A killjoy, even from the grave, Steve Jobs suggests holding the phone differently.]

2. In May, we'll host soldiering competitions at moonshine distilleries in Arkansas.

"On April 28, 2012 Boulder-based SparkFun Electronics, a provider of parts, knowledge and passion for electronics creation, will host its first annual SparkFun Soldering Competition. The competition, open to the public, will take place at Oskar Blues Home Made Liquids and Solids [Editor's note: a brewery] in Longmont, Colo."

3. Also, men who do the dishes don't have to cuddle afterwards.

"If you're working on any pieces about unexpected Father's Day Gifts or Best Gifts for Guys, I have a surprising addition: A Dyson Vacuum. Why would you ever give a dude a vacuum for Father's Day, you ask? Men who do more housework have more sex, according to a study in the Journal of Family issues, and Dyson's newest technology comes perfectly equipped for spaces small and large - unlike any other vacuum you've ever tried."

4. And while you're at it, will you please write something nice, too?

"New Technology Saves Homes and Business! The Flood Stops Here.... Please write an article on our new product!" [Editor's note: A pitch for the Wassaic DoorDam.]

5. You mixed your metaphor in my sexual innuendo.

[Editor's note: From a press release for the book Stop Calling Him Honey... And Start Having Sex! How Changing Your Everyday Habits Will Make You Hot for Each Other All Over Again.]

"I'm not sure if familiarity breeds contempt in marriage, but I'm sure it breeds boredom in the bedroom. If you and your partner are in a sexual rut, Davis and Arana will help dig you out by offering you concrete advice for rekindling the juiciness you felt when you first met. Their counter-intuitive yet effective suggestions will bring out the sexual siren in you and bring back passion to your relationship."

6. An iPad can also make your face look like it's sagging and heavy, but we happen to know where you can get a FaceTime Facelift.

[Editor's note: From Dr. Robert Oexman, Director of the Sleep to Live Institute.]

"The bright light of the iPad and other tablets spark alertness, inhibit melatonin production, and can even bring on a bout of insomnia. That's why medical experts warn against curling up with a tablet to read before bed – if you want a good night's sleep."

7. When we say "exclusive," we mean we're desperate for anyone to be interested. (Did we mention that men who attend have more sex?)

"I'd like to offer you an exclusive opportunity to experience the future of remote patient monitoring with a personal trial of the BodyGuardian RMS during the mHealth Summit, December 3-5, 2012.

Demonstration spots are limited, so reply to this email today to secure a time."

8. If you can't use the McAfee "ploy" -- a new PR strategy whereby you create an international manhunt for your company's founder -- try the next best thing.

"Bitdefender's founder didn't kill somebody like McAfee's might have, but the company is working on killing some of the top security threats of 2012; threats that will continue to have major impact 2013. Here are the most aggressive . . . ."

9. Sometimes I forget to take my ADD meds and I can't remember where I . . . did you just say spectrum allocation?

[Editor's note: From Vulcan Wireless.]

"In 2012, the University of Alabama men's basketball team received an unexpected boost from a student who used an unusual tactic aimed at the opposition. Known as "The Face," Jackson Blankenship attended Crimson Tide men's basketball games armed with an oversized cardboard cutout of his own face holding an alarmed expression designed for one purpose: to make opposing team players miss their shots. Having recently appeared on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and in a video gone viral Blankenship is now infamous for his ability to distract.

This brings to mind the FCC's proceeding to determine whether to restore interoperability in the Lower 700 MHz band,...."

10. You thought the presidential election was all about fixing the economy and the Latino vote.

"I am the Public Relations Manager of SeekingArrangement.com, the world's largest Sugar Daddy dating website. Since this is the election year, we decided to conduct a poll, asking over 30,000 female voters on our website which of the two Presidential Candidates they would rather have as their Sugar Daddy, and why.

Even though Romney is by far much wealthier than Obama, Obama beat Romney by 3 to 1, winning the hearts of women in all swing states and most Republican strongholds. Women who chose Obama over Romney say he is more personable, trustworthy and sexy. While some may discount our poll results, it may hold clues as to what Romney must do to change his vanilla image in order to win over the hearts of minds of voters, and more specifically female voters, this November."

11. What could be more romantic for Red Sox fans? And if you don't like this idea, you should definitely try Cleveland.

[Editor's note: Sent to our Boston-based editor.]

"I am the Public Relations Manager for MissTravel.com, the fastest growing Travel Dating website that was recently featured on Good Morning America, The Today Show, CNN, etc. I am writing to you today because we are releasing our "Top 20 US Romantic Destinations" study based on over 20,000 romance trips taken or planned by members of our website.

Most relevant to you is the fact that New York City is ranked Number 2 on the list of most popular US destinations to fall in love. So why is New York City ranked so high on the list of travel destinations for romance seekers all over the world? Some of the activities our members have done while they were traveling in New York City include taking in a Yankees game, having a first kiss on top of the Empire State Building and eating at The Central Park Boathouse."

12. And we only read Playboy for the articles.

[Editor's Note: Journalists themselves sometimes make, um, unusual pitches. This came from an editor in a list of story pitches.]

"A story about adult clubs and their deployment of IT - especially their adoption of social media marketing techniques and the challenges/successes they see."

For the 16th consecutive year, InformationWeek is conducting its U.S. IT Salary Survey. To date, more than 200,000 IT professionals have participated in this survey. Take our InformationWeek 2013 U.S. IT Salary Survey now, and be eligible to win some great prizes. Survey ends Jan. 18.

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