Thursday, August 15, 2013

Let me guess, it's like Netflix but with Legos

This is what a few million in start-up capital and  a good PR firm can get you, people all over the internet slightly paraphrasing then posting your press releases for you (or in the case of Businessweek, going the above and beyond and writing an unadulterated puff piece in exchange for a couple of exclusive quotes).

Pleygo’s Near-Perfect Pitch: It’s Like Netflix for Lego (Businessweek)

Pleygo Is Basically Netflix for Legos (Time)

Pleygo is to Lego what Netflix is to movies (Gizmag)

Pleygo: Netflix for LEGO (Tehnabob)

Pleygo, A Netflix-Style Rental Service For LEGO Sets (Geekologie)

What none of these articles mention is that, other than both products being relatively durable -- almost none of the reasons why DVDs-by-mail was a good idea apply to Legos-by-mail, but that's a post for another time.

The topic for the moment is the way products and businesses generate buzz. Right now journalists mainly seem to rely on the circular "We talk about it because it's important"/"It's important because everybody's talking about it." One of the many problems with that line of reasoning is that it's really easy for people with money and influence to get that cycle going by appealing to journalists' laziness, greed, vanity and herd instinct.

Much of the effectiveness of PR comes from the fact that, compared with traditional advertising, it hits us with our defenses down, We tend to assume that the writer has uncovered something interesting and dug up the relevant details. That was never entirely true, but these days, with a flack-to-hack ratio approaching 9:1, you should generally assume the opposite.

1 comment:

  1. If nothing else, how do you verify you got all of the pieces back? With the DVD there was just one item. And you can no longer use the inexpensive but fast letter mail -- you need to send packages.