Worst pitch of the month: Katy Perry and the 'social media experience'

This month's roundup is focused on pitches that lack focus. (Yes, prepare to get meta.)


Plenty of PR story and product pitches that end up in my inbox tend to be needlessly over the top.

I'll let you in on a little secret: you don't need to write cover letters, short stories, or stalk Twitter accounts to see where journalists had their last cup of coffee for an easy (and cheap) introduction.

Not only is there just not enough time to sift through all that fluff, but the nuts and bolts of whatever being pitched tends to get buried.

In the following two cases, we have examples of where the flacks lost focus altogether.

Here's culprit number one, as forwarded to me by my colleagues over on the CNET Reviews team:

---------- Forwarded message ----------

Date: Tue, Jan 21, 2014 at 11:50 AM
Subject: The Katy Perry Social Media Experience


Here is a terrific social media story from none other than the most followed person on Twitter…. Please take a look – I can provide further info. if you would like to cover (for which I would be ever so grateful, of course).

Imagine you’re Katy Perry’s biggest fan.  And she’s asking for your help.

What would you do?

Her 100 million+ social followers recently had an opportunity to rise to the challenge. When tasked with the best way to announce her Prismatic World Tour, Perry didn’t opt for an easy tweet or a flashy press conference, but instead found a way to involve the fans – to make them the stars.  She took to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and asked Katy Cats everywhere to lend a helping roar.

The response was immediate. More than 4,000 Insta-videos went up in within the first few hours. The eclectic submissions resulted in a tour announcement video that captures the diversity inherent to Perry’s fan base.

But it doesn’t end there. Once Perry tweeted out her announcement video – produced in a few breathless days – there was an exuberant roll-out of reactions that felt like a continuation of the video itself. Not limited to tweets and Facebook updates, a pair of fans actually Insta-videoed their reactions upon seeing themselves starring in Katy’s video. And then they tweeted the Instagram. And then Katy Perry re-tweeted the tweet of the Instagram video of the Instagram video. And, well, they probably just collapsed.

The video reflects the Katy Perry concert experience itself. The show is not simply about what is happening on stage – Katy’s charm lies in the way she adds the voices of the audience to her own. It is, in a word, Prismatic.

Citi® is the official credit card of THE PRISMATIC WORLD TOUR.  Citi® cardmembers have access to pre-sale tickets today through Citi's Private Pass® Program.  For complete pre-sale details visit www.citiprivatepass.comTickets go on sale to the public on Monday, January 27 at 10:00 am local time. For more information please visit KatyPerry.com.

In addition to embedding images here, I have attached the .jpg files. Please let me know if you have any questions!



With the exception of deriving that diehard Katy Perry fans must be colloquially known as "Katy Cats," it is arduous to decipher what is really being sold here. The social media channels surrounding the Prismatic World Tour? The Citi card buried way at the bottom? Katy Perry's own Instagram account?

Maybe one or all of the above. Regardless, the situation is such a hot mess that it's not worth much more time. Moving on.

As an additional nugget, here's a pitch that tries to get to the point quickly...but inexplicably forgets said point altogether:

Hi Rachel,

I wanted to reach out and see if you're the right person to speak to? I represent Tongal, the top video crowdsourcing site. Co-founder James DeJulio created a community of creative workers to crowdsource videos for brands like Proctor & Gamble and LEGO. The idea was born from inefficiencies in Hollywood's film industry, and it produces videos for a fraction of the traditional cost and time. Their model works- some commercials even landed the Super Bowl last year.

Let's start with the first sentence: Right person to speak to about what? Then it just ends abruptly with nothing else to follow up on.

While I appreciate that there is no pandering about loving past articles, there's also no reference as to what the angle might be here or any understanding about how this might relate to what we cover on ZDNet.

Image via Katy Perry/Instagram