Worst pitch of the month: Plantronics and the mass employee wedding

Worst pitch of the month: Plantronics and the mass employee wedding

Summary: What does a mass wedding involving hundreds of employees during the week of Valentine's Day have to do with enterprise technology? Just about nothing.


Journalists receive tons of story and product pitches each day via e-mail, phone, snail mail and sometimes even a delivered cupcake. (That last one is true, although it never got to me because the sender wrote the wrong address.)

Sometimes the pitches are clever, timely, or at least newsworthy -- even if a bit dry. However, a vast portion of them are usually way off base.

Then, once in a while we're treated to little gems that are just so mind boggling that they demand to be shared with the world.

Thus, we're starting a little column here on ZDNet in which I'll offer the worst pitch(es) I've received that month, along with a little commentary about why it just doesn't work.

We're starting a little early this month, but given the event date etched in electronic ink on this first one, here are a few to tide you over until March.

Hi Rachel,

Would you be interested in speaking with Plantronics this week about its mass employee wedding happening this Friday, Friday 15? More details below.

What do weddings, Bluetooth headsets, 500 couples, Tijuana and California have in common?

For the past 12 years, Plantronics, the world’s leading Bluetooth and headset manufacturer headquartered in California, has hosted an annual mass wedding for the employees of its Plamex manufacturing plant in Tijuana, helping marry over 500 employees. On Friday, February 15, just one day after Valentine’s Day, Plantronics will toast approximately 28 couples who will marry at Plamex.

Why throw a wedding? It’s smart business, and more importantly, it’s part of the amazing workplace culture that helps get Plamex ranked the best place to work in Mexico. While this benefit may seem quirky, it’s one of the reasons Plamex has amazing retention (some employees are the 3rd generation from same family to work at Plamex), and part of the reason why Plantronics has some of the best audio innovations in the world.


I'm not sure where to begin, but as my colleague Adrian Kingsley-Hughes wrote to me in response as to what any of those items might have in common, he summed up simply, "Nothing. Nothing at all."

This pitch from Plantronics follows in a long line of pitches since the beginning of January attempting (and failing) to weave some sort of very weak thread between technology and Valentine's Day. Here's another example:

Hey Rachel,

Okta decided to have a little fun with Valentines Day this year and published a blog post on the top reasons valentines are like passwords: http://www.okta.com/blog/2013/02/top-10-reasons-valentines-are-like-passwords/. (My personal fave: "(8) They expire every year. Now they’re just some passwords that I used to know."

Thought it'd be of interest – and might make for a fun piece on BTL today.



It's sort of sweet -- but in an overly saccharine way that makes me slightly sick.

This last one just makes me question what kind of mailing lists I must be on and what kind of data they have about me:

Online Dating sites and Apps are exploding everywhere but how do users know another’s STD status and protect themselves while actively dating? Qpid.me is a free, simple way to obtain, securely store and privately share your verified STD results. You may be tempted to further your relationship with the guy/girl you met online BUT experts are warning people that incidents of STD’s are continuing to grow. For example, Gonorrhea in the U.S has risen for the first time in decades and is now resistant to most antibiotics. At www.Qpid.me, signing up online is a 3 minute process that allows people to receive STD results quickly, and for FREE. The founder has been tested forty times in 12 months to verify how clinics are testing and how long it typically takes for one to receive their results.

Five key questions for consumers who are dating and sexually active with partners are:

1.      Have you been tested lately?
2.      If not, do you know where in your area to go? Qpid.me can tell you the locations all over the U.S. to get tested.
3.      NO news is NOT good news? – do you know that some states report they will get your medical records to you in “any reasonable time frame.”  Qpid.me will get your results quicker.
4.      How do you share this info with your partner?  How does Qpid.me work?
5.      What if you are positive – how does Qpid.me work with you?
Would you like to speak to the CEO/Creator of Qpid.me – Ramin Bastani.


The biggest problem with these pitches is that they have nothing to do with business technology -- which is what ZDNet is all about -- so the senders don't understand their audience.

Some better attempts at this theme that I've received include the special-edition garnet red Samsung Galaxy Tab and the top online dating scams from ThreatMetrix.

But in actuality, most of them are just trying too hard. Please stop.

Topics: Tech Industry, Enterprise 2.0

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  • Way too much information

    This is one of those times that make people (like me) who are old enough to remember the pre-Internet days, and everything had to be printed and mailed. The cost of doing that and the time it took meant we had to make sure our mailings were sent to the right people.

    Now, unfortunately, it doesn't take much more time or effort to send a story pitch to . . . . everyone!
    Catena Creations
  • Speaking to Ramin Bastani?

    I'd need to see his test results first.

    The Okta blog entry has some cleverness to it, so you need to give them credit. The Plantronics entry at least gets half credit because you have to admit it's a unique event, last I checked marriage and romance still had a connection, and it likely does speak well of the work environment there... unless these marriages are necessary to merge incomes to create living wages.
    • Ramin Bastani here!

      Hi ejhonda! You can see my STD results here - https://qpid.me/u/ramin :).

  • The last paragraph is key (Why throw a wedding?...)

    I'm not exactly sure why holding a mass wedding helps with employ morale and retention, but, if it does, it's good. Having happy employees does lead to having better quality products.
  • Ok, the Plantronics thing is a bit strange, but . . .

    It's not like they've been doing this for 12 years just to be able to send you an email about it. They do it and they're trying to get some capitalization out of it. It has nothing to do with business maybe, but at least its not a one-off event.

    Your third example is just spam. I'm not thinking much actual targeting is going on there.
  • I thought marriage was a personal issue, not "good business"

    But it all does show how corporations get more and more control over peoples' lives.

    There's your real "big brother", or - rather - "big uncle".
  • Two out of three

    I can see the first two having some vague connection to technology, but that third one is completely off the wall. Thank you for sharing with us, Rachel!
  • I didn't know that Plantronics was owned by the Moonies...

    Ever been to a Mexican wedding? Man, that's one heck of a party. With 28 couples tying the knot, that's easily 1,000 people showing up.

    I wonder what Plantronics shareholders think of the expense?

    Also makes me doubt that "Made in the USA" sticker I see on Plantronics devices.
    Marc Jellinek
  • Got You to Look

    Got you to look, and write it up - so who won this battle for free publicity in the end?