#BlogSchool: Check Yo’ Privilege (When It Comes To Brand Engagement)

Oh you guys kill me, seriously.

We’ve covered working with brands before, the do’s, don’ts and what the actual fuck were you thinking’s. However, I see the same mistakes when it comes to being polite to brands and it really grates with me personally.

As a pioneer of old age when it come to blogger’s being able to be part of outreach campaigns, I have had to deal with a lot of scorn in my time. Scorn from non-review bloggers, scorn from non-bloggers who think bloggers are a bunch of entitled, grasping, freebie hunters and blaggers.

For the most part, Bloggers who review are epic people, who will receive a product, go and photograph it for Instagram, write their review, and be polite and professional at all times. They also know, like me, that an email about a product, sponsor post or opportunity doesn’t always equal the end we’d like as sometimes, inexplicably, the lead goes cold.

If I had a quid for every time I have been contacted, on days out, holidays, products or anything else of all budgets that didn’t materialise, hell, I’d be that rich I could be like Katie Price and employ a Ghostwriter and go sun myself instead of slogging away at this blog.

Sadly, it’s not the same attitude adopted by some, and it’s a growing number as well. Which, to folk as vintage as me is a bit horrifying and irritating as it puts us back in the “blaggers” days and gives us all a bad name.

So to today and I won’t go into it too much for fear of being publicly hunted down and made to jog (seriously- one comment about this thought telling me to go jogging (ergo, I am clearly a fat burger stuffer compared to her svelte entitled self) as a reasonable argument to my shock and awe at the entitled bitch behavior being displayed).

Same old story- Blogger is approached. Blogger is offered item. Brand then, politely, and I cannot stress this ignored point enough as it was super polite, decides not to continue due to personal preference.

Nothing wrong with that. It’s up to the brand, however big or small, on who them work with. I can say this wasn’t a size issue, or gender or colour issue or I would so have joined in the righteous stamping and indignation over this one.

The blogger, inexplicably, screen grabbed this polite, innocuous message and placed it on a public, widely used Blogging group and then allowed others as mental as she is to publicly bitch the brand!

This, for the record, is the same group that, when I questioned the validity of the behaviour of a third party, frankly questionable blog/brand link up company who were not being open or honest with members, rather hoovering up as many names as they could to gain rewards from brands, I was rounded on. One of the third party was even given screen grabs of what I’d said then joined the group to harangue me whilst not making any attempt to answer my polite queries. That was OK.

However, no notice was given to the fact that:

  1. Plenty of times I have never even got a reason why a brand suddenly pulls out. This happens at least twice a month with products big and small.
  2. The brand person was super polite and apologetic, telling the blogger it was not her personal opinion.
  3. An email does not mean a contract. A collaboration only happens when you are in possession of the item/on the day out. An email is just putting the feelers out to see who is interested, however many are sent back and forth.
  4. It does not matter how many followers you have compared to the brand in question. If you’re not what they want, tough luck, move on with dignity.
  5. Slagging off a brand in public is not going to win other friends and influence people to work with you.
  6. The best course of action would be to be polite back and then, no doubt, another campaign would mean she would be top of the list for an item.
  7. My 9 and 7 year old are that savvy on brand/blogger outreach, they never question when an item doesn’t materialise.

I was told to calm down. I was told I was out of order. I was called all sorts. Admin, as is the norm with this group, told me off for saying that, actually, it was up to the brand, they’d been polite and perhaps some of the angry pitchfork wavers needed to educate themselves before attempting to work with brands.

I swear, the thing that made me laugh and then bang my head against a wall was when I saw someone, supposedly of intelligence, suggest discrimination was at play here.


No, ladies. Discrimination against women is rife, for sure. But it’s not discrimination to have a brand not send you a product for free! Discrimination is walking down the street and being called a fat cow by a stranger. Or being passed over for a job for having a child. Or being shipped off to a country to be married to someone you have never met. Or worse, being killed in the name of “honour” for refusing to marry. Or being a victim of FGM, domestic violence, rape or homophobia. Those are discriminatory practises.

Not getting a product is a bitch. Simple.

It’s disappointing, it’s a let down, but there will be other items, other things to try out.

No matter how many followers, no matter how big you think you are, if you don’t fit the remit, you don’t fit the remit.

Move on, behave, shut up, and don’t allow the attitudes of others to sway you. It’s called self respect. And it seems a fair few of the new breed of entitled, self important people who have appeared in blogging need to remember that.

One of my biggest brand engagements took me four years to cultivate before it paid off. The first time I reviewed them, I had gone off my own back and had simply reviewed it as I saw some constructive things which could be improved. That brand has now engaged with me for three years in a row, but, if they didn’t next year, that’s their call. Yep, I would be disappointed, but I would never go as far as to rubbish them on a group.

Things change quickly, and we can all learn that the best course of action is to simply keep on doing what you’re doing and wait for the next opportunity to come along.

If you get a rep for being a bitch, shit sticks, and you’ll find the work dries up. If they have less followers and decide to ditch you, that’s their loss, not yours, and the best thing to do is keep a respectful silence, or, at the least, politely email back that you completely understand and hope that you can work on another campaign another time. Bloggers who wish to bitch should learn they aren’t the only one’s who know how to screen grab, and no doubt this brand has already been shown this blogger’s anger, and others who joined in on bollocking them for daring to deny her an item, and I bet they won’t be high on their work with list from here on out.

Before working with brands, please, get a thick skin and know that not everything will appear in the post. You will be dropped without so much as a tweet.

It’s how you deal with that rejection that counts so much in an ever growing medium.

Suck it up bloggers, and check yo’ privilege.