Stevie Wilson of LA Story wrote a response to the question of a previous post, "Guy Kawasaki on the impact of bloggers on PR and buzz" that contained fascinating insight about swag and gifts (they're not the same thing), and how some in Hollywood treat bloggers as persona not so grata.
Here's her comments:
Swag is the name of the game in Los Angeles– in a city that lives and dies by celebrities getting swag and quite frankly are the least needy for that - because they have the $$ to pay for anything given to them.
Yet they give the products to those who can afford them and won't give a darn thing (really -- I have been dissed to my face because I am press-- particularly online as bloggers are thought to carry no power. Really? You would think that some pr people would be aware of the power of immediate press and going viral but not so)
Swag has a bad connotation because it smacks of pandering and frankly payola. However when it comes to blogging– depending on the topic of course–one can hardly blog about a skincare line if one hasn’t tried it — or has tried it for only one week and doesn’t own up to the fact.
Gifting is somewhat different. Sometimes it’s a holiday or birthday gift that really is a “gift” between a corporate entity and the blogger for the support (if there has been support and I don’t mean Perez Hilton type support that has been advertised) that the blogger may have given. Or it can be something that the corporate entity has done to gain the attention to the brand in such an unusual and interesting way that it definitely gains the immediate attention and enthusiasm of the blogger– like a video iPod that has videos of fashion shows or make-up tips from NY Fashion Week.
In LA, there is a gifting process that is quid pro quo but typically, for the more visible press— which means stylists who bring in celebrities to a suite whose promoter gives them a trip or a great big fat goody bag of stuff (the same goody bag given to the celebrities)
However, that being said, even the stylists are shunned despite bringing or sending in celebrity friends, clients or contacts.
Some PR and brands don’t think that bloggers count. Trust me– we can reach people faster if you are kind, polite and friendly.
Agreeing with Chris here that offering me some worthy information is well worth it — whether it’s to be written about or giving me some heads up on a trend or event that’s about to launch.
I have pr people who slip me the 411 on celebrity clients wearing the brands they represent before anyone else has it. You can bet I run that information and pronto!! Others tell me about new things just because they know I can help support that when it launches– because I can “plan” for blogs around it.
It all depends on how and what you value. I have yet to see anyone gift me something so amazing that I would jump. Been promised things (cars to come get me and other trinkets), but they never come through– suddenly bloggers are persona not so grata.
What's really interesting is that when you are persona not so grata that when they *NEED* you particularly when they want you to cover something at the last minute-- a day or the day of or 2 -3 days before when they have all the 411 at least a couple weeks before.
Bloggers have schedules too and to be so "off the cuff" and treat a blogger as "less important" most of the time but then come to them at the last minute to get some coverage-- how cooperative do you think that blogger will be? Karma baby, karma!