The Day the PR Person Failed

TerseI work providing coverage of the videogames industry. This means getting review copies of games among other things and then commissioning writers to review those games – or sometimes reviewing them myself. I’ve been doing this off and on since the late 1980s. Today I was quite taken aghast and aback by a response I received from a PR person…

We’re not a huge site with massive corporate sponsors but I’d like to think that we’re fair, rational and know that the review process is generally made of two elements:

1) We inform our readers of whether to spend their money on this game.
2) The PR person informs their client that they have gained some publicity.

Everybody is happy – well, mostly. Sometimes we are forced to give bad games, bad reviews in order to stop our readers (e.g. our clients) wasting their cash. For the most part, however, the games we choose to review are not awful because that would be a waste of time for us, our readers and the PR people (most of whom are quite lovely, highly professional and very honest indeed).

Most good PR people are aware that a bit of basic human courtesy can often make everybody’s job easier and their lives more pleasurable.

So…

Today we had still not received a review copy of a game (no name – no shame, this is mere anecdote). I popped off an email, thus:

Hi

Can we have a review copy urgently please.

thanks

Tim Smith

Later that very day I got the response. Ready?

Sent

No name. No “Sorry it’s a week late. Hope you enjoy. Have a nice weekend.” Nothing more than.

Sent

Sure, it’s efficient. But as for being a relationship builder?

So, I sat down and composed a jolly response:

Wow,

That’s got to be the tersest response I’ve ever had and I’ve been doing this since 1988, and have been insulted by some of the biggest names in the business. Thinking about it, they’re probably way too old fashioned now.

What was I saying?

Oh, yes… something about me wanting to provide coverage of one of your products, with a tangent whereby I beg for a tiny bit of human fellow-feeling… some brief smidgeon of courtesy, a little dab of “Let’s all make each other feel slightly higher up the evolutionary scale than ants (who merely communicate via chemical signals and never get to smile at each other let alone send emails that include words like, “It’s on its way, hope you enjoy. Have a good weekend.”)”.

Something like that.

Because I have no idea what I did to deserve that awe-inspiring level of disdain. Thinking about it, of course, it could just be a generational thing. Do you youngsters communicate at that level of brevity to everybody seeking to provide coverage? Is it “a thing”? Is it like Twitter but shorter? I am completely open to the idea that I’ve lost the plot vis-a-vis communicating the product here. I will resign myself shortly to be consigned to some sort of old journalist’s home where large ‘security nurses’ will beat me up and leave me to starve due to my overt desire for humanity, courtesy and basic niceness.

It’s a thing.

Anyway, thanks very much for sending, we’ll get a review up next week.

All the best and have a lovely weekend.

Tim

PS: I took a few moments to show your response to our local 17 year old, even he said, “S’bit short, daddyio” before heading off to the park.

I even thought about sending it to lighten up the day. Then I thought, “Hold on, there is no way that anybody who sent “Sent” is going to have to wit to understand that I’m merely having a bit of a game. So, I didn’t bother.

And that’s how we end up when we can’t be arsed to communicate with even a basic level of humanity – even in a business where ‘being arsed’ is key.

What I did send was:

Dear REDACTED,

Thanks for your response and for sending that game for us to review.

All the best and have a lovely weekend.

Tim

I imagine even that was met with, “Blimey he doesn’t half go on a bit.”

UPDATE
As it goes, this is not how it was met. Later that same day… I received a very lovely reply indeed, which I’m not going to put here as this is merely an anecdote.

Please leave a comment. Many thanks.