My oh my! This week we witnessed a blogger blitz of a social media marketing effort gone awry. The short version of the story is that a competitive absinthe brand hired a PR agency who evidently didn’t understand how to work with bloggers. They made some egregious mistakes (cloaked spam) and were taken to task by a “murder” (to borrow the descriptor of a group of crows) of bloggers.

Significantly, many of the bloggers gave a shoutout to BAT as well as several other agencies and companies that are doing social media marketing the RIGHT way. (Thank you…we appreciate the vote of confidence!)

There’s a lesson here for marketers in the Internet age. Invest the time to really understand the new media, how it works and how it’s different from the old. But if you’re not going to do that, make sure you conduct due diligence on the resources you hire to do it for you. In this case, the damage done far outweighed the planned short term gain.

Spam and subterfuge are not workable strategies…transparency and contribution to the conversation are. Promoting a brand commercially is part of the process, but it must be in a way that’s beneficial to all and most importantly the end reader. When you game a blogger, you also insult their reader…who is your prospective customer. To paraphrase David Ogilvy, “She’s not a moron, she’s your wife.”

You can check out the brouhaha here (and be advised, this was a passionate subject…some of the language isn’t fit for children):

Two at the Most
An Exercise in Hospitality
A Mountain of Crushed Ice
Cocktail Chronicles
A Jigger of Blog
Dear PR Flack