I try to keep things on a pretty even keel, especially when I'm writing articles for PR Daily, but just this once, I'm going to have to let my
This week, I received a press release for an online video campaign, and when I opened the email, I was shocked to find that the contents were just one big
That might be OK if it was a quick, to-the-point image of a slogan or a teaser (and if that image was also a link to a full press release), but this was a
huge image of what looked like the Web version of a text press release, with what looked like links and everything.
Here's what it looked like:
None of that text could be highlighted to copy and paste, because it wasn't really text. It was part of an image. Likewise, clicking on the underlined blue
text didn't do anything. Further down, there were images from a YouTube video that also weren't clickable (though there was a for-real link to the video at
the very top of the email). It felt like a cruel joke. I had to check the calendar to make sure it wasn't April Fools' Day again.
I wrote back to the PR rep at Carol Leggett Public Relations, the agency that sent the email, to ask why they'd send a message like that, and here's what I
got back from Senior Account Executive Gabrielle Zollner: "We like to make our press releases more creative than just sending plain words by adding color
and images that will grab the attention of editors and stand out."
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I get what she's saying, to a degree. I get dozens of press releases in my email every day, and a good many of them I simply have to ignore, quite simply
for the sake of time. Elements such as bright colors and images do catch the eye. I looked at this email for more than a second, for instance.
Still, this feels like reaching too far, because it sacrifices any and all utility for the sake of grabbing attention. A press release isn't much use to me
if I can't follow links, and it's pretty much dead to me if I can't copy and paste text from it. I'm not alone in that feeling. Observe this image that was
a massive hit on Twitter last week:
Copying and pasting quotes is a huge part of a journalist or a blogger's job. If you impede one's ability to do that, you're playing with fire. You may get
one's attention, sure, but odds are it won't be the kind of attention you want.
Given the wonders of HTML and other design technologies, the release could have delivered the same sort of visual impact without sacrificing utility—and
risking the creators a quick trip to the blocked senders list.
Sound off, PR Daily
readers. Am I overreacting, or was I justified in my reaction to this press release?