Friday, May 25, 2012

You Cannot Charm Me

Late news, I placed in my age group for the Oakland half marathon, because the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place woman overall were taken out of the age group placings (and those 3 were all in my age group).  When I was notified of this, I thought, "Cool! Something free?"

I received my award in the mail this week.

Hard to see? It is a little charm--about the size of a dime--that says "2012 Oakland 13.1"

I have negative use for it.  I know Sesa already attacked this topic well before the race even happened, but are the race directors assuming that women want jewelry?  I truly have no more use for this than a dude would (fyi, guys who placed in their AG got something different).  It is officially clutter.  And I can't bring myself to toss it because that just seems wrong.  At the very least, could they have provided a chain? 


Yesterday was full of running-related events.  I had a Physical Therapy appointment in the morning (operation heal my buttcrease) and a kettleball class through my PT in the evening, and plans to run with XLMIC around lunchtime.  I also had and an appointment to bring my car into the shop, so it was a stay-at-home-work-a-little kind of day.  XLMIC and I ended up hiking instead of running, and you can read all about our spiritual adventure through a labyrinth on her bloggity here.

The kettleball class was recommended by my PT to get my butt/hip muscles and core stronger.  My back hurts (bad form?) and I truthfully didn't love it.  I spent an hour learning the basic kettleball moves instead of just getting on with the strengthening.  So much rather be running than lifting bowling balls....but I'll suck it up and try a few more classes out. 


Inside Dish: Advertising Rejection

Here and there I know I have touched on the fact that I find advertising on blogs annoying, and I don't participate in it, and probably won't until a product comes along that I legitimately enjoy or want to help promote.

In the meantime, I get emails (rarely, but I do) asking if I want to associate with a brand, or post a review, or become an ambassador.  I have never done this, so if you have seen any brand or company mentioned here, it is only because I was freely talking about them.

This hilarious exchange is why I think blog advertising is often phony and desperate. 

Email #1, paraphrased: "We found your blog, and have a few questions.  Is that ok? Have a GREAT day!"

My reply: "Sure."

Email # 2 (brand name left out): Hello, Thanks for getting back to me. :)
I'm reaching out to you because  I saw your blog has some awesome posts relating to fitness, exercise, and living a healthy lifestyle.  If you are not familiar with the [#### brand], we [are about blah blah blah]. I was wondering if you would be interested in adding a short post with a couple of our links to your blog. [The brand] is so relevant to the content on your page and I think your site viewers would find our products very beneficial.  If this is something you'd like to discuss further please let me know. I look forward to hearing from you!


Humph.  You know what, I have no problem at all with this sincerely nice person and company putting effort into expanding their advertising.  Blogs are a valid way to market yourself.  But I'm not impressed, not at all, to receive a generic email that clearly has not read through one week of this blog, and instead has noted, "the word 'runner' is in the blog title? check! people read this blog? check!" and I got on their list.

I'm so sorry brand, I have to tell you, I do NOT have "awesome posts relating to fitness, exercise, and living a healthy lifestyle."  Truly, I don't think I live a very healthy lifestyle.  I run a lot, and that is as far as the lifestyle goes.  This, in many people's opinions, is in itself not very healthy.  If we're talking about food, the healthiest thing I do is eat an apple and some carrots almost every day of the week.  But I also go through an unhealthy amount of packaged garbage.  The good and the bad of my diet life very rarely make the blog; because, this is not a blog exhibiting a "healthy lifestyle".

The product itself has nothing to do with me or this blog.  It's a desperate stretch.  Bloggers, don't blindly say yes to a linking parade unless it is relevant.  I can't take that seriously.

Happy memorial day weekend!  I will be off to Tahoe in just a few hours, where the high is expected to be 40-something degrees on Saturday.  Will be barbecuing in a snow suit ;)

Juicy advertising rejection stories?
Is it bratty that I don't appreciate the Oakland half marathon charm?


  1. Ha. I think these PR people don't even read their blogs. I was asked to join "fitfluential" with my chocolate blog. Um, OK. Not.

    Also Hershey offered a giveaway for me. I write about real chocolate, not vegetable oil blended with sugar and subpar cocoa powder.

    I'm trying to think of a good use for that charm. Ummmm...Yeah I've got nothing.

  2. I would never use that charm. I can't believe that they didn't even include a necklace chain thing to go with it. Wow.

    I wanted to know what the guys got, and when I went to Sessa's blog, I learned that they got beer coasters?! No, that's not a cool prize, but I'd at least have that over a 'charm'.

    The prize from last year (shoes) seems infinitely cooler, perhaps Sketchers didn't want to sponsor again?

    I am really jealous that you're going to Tahoe. I was there last summer and it was incredible.

  3. I get those emails too - even for my blog that I hardly ever update these days. I just ignore them.

    And the charm...put a ribbon thru it and hang it on your xmas tree as an ornament...that's all I got.

  4. Keep it real, girlfriend.

    40 degrees compared to the 90-something it is in TX sounds great right now. Esp for running.

  5. I once got an email to do a review of a scrapbooking program. huh? I write about my life and running and never once have touched a scrapbook in my life. Puke.

  6. I got a broken SF 49ers watch as an award back in February and I can't bring myself to toss it. It actually cracks me up. Bc I live in Cleveland. Why not a broken Browns watch. That makes more sense. It sits w/ my other awards. Can you pin it to your finishers medal ribbon?

  7. I've accepted one or two advertising/promotional type stuff on my blog over many years. I ignore most emails from anyone trying to buy space (I have none to sell), asking to write a guest post (people really do this?), and asking me to promote X product or event. The times I did shill were for a publisher streaming a talk by one of my favorite writers and author of my favorite novel. The second was for tickets to an early screening for one of the Harry Potter movies. I felt like I was selling out for both, but I genuinely liked both things.

    Can you make Sesa begin blogging again? I miss her.

  8. I think you should do a giveaway with that charm. Toss in a tube of Nuun and a bottle of chocolate milk...LOTS of people will enter that giveaway. That would drive your readership up and do a lot more for your ego than advertising some weird shit. I've been asked if I would put an ad for tummy tucks on my blog. That has probably been the weirdest. The coolest was krill oil. And I still need to write the post for that...the stuff rocks.

    Or hey!!!!!! Put the charm up at the labyrinth!!! yeah...genius idea, I know! :)

  9. That charm is stupid.

    I have no problem mentioning stuff on my blog that I'd use anyway. Everything else I just ignore. I also question any marketing person who thinks my blog has enough readers to make it good ROI.

  10. Am I the only one who wants to know why the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place people were taken out of the placings?

    I like the holiday ornament idea. I suppose you could also put it on your keychain.

  11. That charm is worse than a plaque.....You know what I want for placing in a race? I want a free entry to the next race, because race fees are making me broke. Or better yet, don't have stupid awards and just have cheaper race entry fees.

  12. I guess they were going to engrave the charm with "I won my age group at the Oakland Half Marathon and all I got was this stupid charm," but it was too unreadable and they couldn't afford to give out magnifying glasses along with it, sooo...

    Don't have any personal experience with adverts (the only people who read my blog are the ones who google "stomach flu weight loss" and "naked man on treadmill"). Hypothetically, if I had a large readership and a desire for free stuff (which, let's be honest, the last thing I need is more stuff, even running-related) I might "review", i.e. post an advertorial about, socks or shoes or foam rollers, running stuff I use anyway and can thus have an opinion about.

  13. My first attempt at commenting got erased, so here I go again:
    I agree that the gender-specific AG awards were a bad choice, but then again, I think AG awards in general tend to be lame and useless (except for gift cards and discounted/free entry, as noted above).

    The two weirdest emails I've gotten related to my food blog were:
    1. A beef industry marketing person asking me if I wanted to put a diagram on my sidebar showing the best cuts of beef. They clearly didn't realize that I'm quasi-vegetarian and definitely don't support industrial meat production.
    2. A freelance writer who wanted to write posts for me for free. Why would I want someone else to write posts for me? Even weirder is that she linked to the posts she's written for various bloggers.

  14. Pft, I wish I could get a charm. I just got a truly hideous plaque in the mail that weighs as much as a four year old child. What do you DO with a plaque?!?!

  15. That looks like it should be cling-clanging on a cats collar. Buy a huge MC Hammer chain and put that on the end of it. Wear it to Target and look at people and look at it, look at people look at it. Like the old guy who cant wait for you to ask about his bandage from his recent corn removal. Free entertainment. Like when I made my son say Gingivitis.

  16. Not going to lie...I would love the charm. Totally up my alley and much easier to wear around your neck than a trophy. I'm wearing a little charm necklace like that right now, actually!

    Weirdest for me was a company that wanted me to to write a post about acai berries and include a link to their company - for $150! Man, I have to admit I was tempted. I'm broke and could use $150, but that was just so bizarre.

  17. LAME. I was in that facebook thread about the age group awards briefly; then I realized it was get out of it or shoot myself in the face. I cannot BELIEVE how many other women running in the race were defending the sexist bullshit that 'facebook boy' was spewing on this topic.

    Also, I got that same email about having "a few questions" about my blog. I took a cursory look at the website & then wrote back to them about how I was pretty sure they were exploiting people's body issues / physical insecurities for profit and found it kind of despicable.

  18. I second Jan[et] Cecilia--what happened to runners 1, 2 and 3? Some 30-somethings decided to lie about their ages?
    In my case deciding what to do with the charm would be irrelevant, as I would lose something that tiny instantly. could send the race organizers an effusively gushy thank-you letter, promise them you intend to make a really generous donation to next year's race, and then mail it back to them. That seems like disappointment parity.

  19. Agree with you on the dog charm from the race. Why not give you something running related? clothes? shoes? something worthy of framing?

    Also agree on the advertising. I can't stand all of the brand champion crap that bloggers put on their sites. Their choice, but It's annoying when a blog I read suddenly is full of posts about and pictures of their Reebok branding camp experience and some marketing manager who is only interested in putting people in their shoes. It's a fine line, some companies get it and give out gear for bloggers to review, accept the reviews and move on back to the regular blog content about them that brought me there in the first place. In the face of free stuff too many bloggers can't resist the lure and ignore the part where they become a tool of corporate marketing drones.

  20. Attach the charm to your keychain?

    Check out how the bloggess handles unsolicited pitches -

  21. I think I got that same email. They are amusing to read, and flattering for about a second. Then I delete them without a second thought. I hate advertising with a passion. I've trained my eye and brain to ignore anything that even looks a little bit like advertising. I wouldn't dream of cluttering my own blog with it.

    That age group award is tacky. It's like they were too cheap to afford a medallion. Or a real prize. "Oh, it's just the woman's age group awards, what junk can we fob off on them?"

  22. Boo. What a stupid race prize!

  23. haha!!! i love that last part of healthy living. it's funny how running blogs get lumped into being healthy living so easily... running is absolute the only healthy thing about life. i equally love fruits and cupcakes. cupcakes usually win. and i can drink with the best of them any day of the week. oh well.

    1. *only healthy thing about MY life. oh typos.

  24. I'm with you on the charm. That's a lame gift. And the whole different gifts for men and women? SUPER LAME. I would have rather had a coaster. I actually did get a coaster once as an age group prize, and I use it every day at work.

    I think I've commented this before, but I have some ads on my blogs, but only ones that I personally sought out because they are brands I personally use and enjoy. I have received a couple solicitations that I rejected though. One was for a website selling a lot of powders and pills and stuff that I don't personally use and never would so I'm not about to promote it on my blog. The other was a guy who wanted to do a guest post, and I read some of his guest posts on other blogs, and I wasn't impressed. He tried to share a lot of "advice," some of which went against what I know about running (not that I'm an expert) and he didn't cite any sources. I definitely don't want bad running advice on my blog. So not very juicy stuff.

  25. No chain? Wow! Don't really have any ideas for you.
    I love you honesty in this post. I hope that you have a great time in Tahoe!

  26. Hey - I'm also in Tahoe this weekend. Came up and had two days of snow (Friday and sat). Hope you have a great time.

  27. oh wow...LOVE the email about how your blog represent the brand sooooo well :) gahhhh how cheesy & lame of the company...
    I would probably put the charm on my key-chain or lose it...I think it's cute because you are from Oakland, so you can Rep your city!!
    I hope you've been having a great Holiday weekend...I didn't get the opportunity to get to the Bay unfortunately :(
    DID you sign up for CIM?! <--yes yes?!

  28. Haha that charm is ridiculous. "negative use" indeed! Perfect way to describe it.

  29. Haha, no chain! That is awful!! I would toss it. Or if that makes you feel bad just accidentally lose it!


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