Worst pitch of the month: Secret Sweater and solving women's problems

Summary:This month's roundup also includes a few positive spins that deserved to be lauded rather than lampooned.


Some of the worst pitches I receive often share the common error, or at least misunderstanding, of how to target female audiences, for whatever reason.

I've written about a few -- namely an odd taxi app for defending "helpless" females .

Other pitches commonly misunderstand the audience at the other end of the email -- meaning a clear lack of knowledge about the journalist and publication to which he or she is pitching.

Just look at the Kickstarter project, "Barley & Britches: The Everyday Chino," which came with some tangent about how these pants improve first dates.

Here's one that combines the two: the Secret Sweater.

Let's take a closer look:

Hi Rachel!

How are things over at ZDNet News? This is one secret you will love(and might want to keep to yourself)! I know you've been in the office working on deadlines and gotten a little chilly at some point right? I know I have..but I don't always want to cover up my outfit with a chunky sweater, jean jacket, etc! Well Secret Sweater is the PERFECT solution to this. It fits perfectly under a blazer or jacket, but stays hidden so no one knows you're wearing it but you! Crazy good idea right?! This transitions really well from work to happy hour...or even to a yoga class! I have included a bit more below about the concept, but you truly have to try it to believe it!

Ps- they were a huge hit at former Bachelorette star and expectant mom Deanna Pappas' recent baby shower!:)

I would apologize for the poor formating and odd punctuation here and there, but those distractions are not my fault. Plus, it gives you the opportunity to experience my irritation first-hand.

As if that weren't enough, here's a bit more of the product description in the email, which just rambled on for too long, and I'm not going to inflict that upon anyone else.

While staying stylish and comfortable between running meetings, hitting the yoga mat, and catching an evening date night may seem like unattainable goals, with the Secret Sweater women who are on-the-go finally have that elusive wardrobe piece that will solve all their problems. The Secret Sweater is the first of its kind to meet the multi-faceted demands of the active woman head on, being at once the perfect layer for under a work blazer while still looking just as chic and at home when pulled on over a little black dress.

Trapped by chilly boardrooms, overhead air conditioning vents, and reptilian coworkers who won't hear of a thermostat set over 62? Instead of giving in to goose bumps get smart and pull out that trusty Secret Sweater whenever necessary. The Secret Sweater claims its name from its clever design, which features 3/4 length sleeves, a body length that hits at the waist for the optimum range of movement, and a deeply cut away front so it can be easily hidden under blazers and jackets.

A sweater that will solve ALL of my problems? Sounds magical to me. How have I made it this far in life without such a sartorial savior?

Honestly -- and I'm afraid to even ask this rhetorical question -- how dumb do they think women must be to buy this -- the pitch or the sweater? The premise is so insulting to anyone's intelligence that I don't even think this would make it to a late-night infomercial.

I already have a similar yet not-so-secret sweater from Banana Republic on the back of my chair right now. Problem solved.

Moving on, I also wanted to mix things up for once by including a few pitches that deserved to be lauded rather than lampooned.

Topics: Tech Industry, CXO, Mobility, Start-Ups, Developer


Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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