Cosmetics and Beauty brands, please don’t do this. And if your PR or Digital agency is doing this, who on your team approved this? I don’t often receive such emails from internationally established brands so it is always surprising when something like this drops in my email inbox.



*Named Cosmetics Brand has selected you to be a part of their bloggers engagement activity to celebrate their Anniversary event.

Please find below the details.

We want you to pick one product of your choice from our bestseller list listed below. We will be sending you the desired product.

1. Eye Cream
2. Shea Butter Hand Cream
3. Shower Oil
4. Repairing Shampoo

You can create a review post about it to our website by tomorrow and link it to our website.
Click a picture like shown below on a white background (so we can change the background colour to match that of the product)
We will put a post on the website with your blog name.

Please confirm your participation for the same. Request you to please share your contact details at the earliest.


The number of holes in this email is alarming.

Generic “Hi!” : Yes, I do understand that the person at the PR Agency sending out this email doesn’t have time to write each person’s individual names in separate emails before hitting send. But doesn’t your agency have a scripted email setting where the software automatically picks up the receiver’s name from the Contacts database you’ve created? Unless of course the agency doesn’t know what it’s doing, in which case I’m alarmed that an established beauty brand will hire such an agency.

Congratulations!!! : For being picked to do free work for you? Don’t be ridiculous Naina! They clearly think you deserve their products for free! But they clearly have not spent any time on my blog because I’ve experienced beauty products from larger luxury beauty brands and I have never purchased products from this brand that is writing to me – so they cannot assume I would be interested in their products. Oh well, maybe they don’t really understand what “bloggers engagement” is. Let’s read on.

Products from their “bestseller list”. Have they not seen my blog? If you search the term “bestseller” on my blog, you get ONE result, which is an excerpt from an interview with Malcolm Gladwell that I wrote about in 2005 on my asidebrands blog. I don’t do generic bestseller lists. Moving on to the actual products ( I’ve removed any branded suffix names from the product names to protect the brand’s privacy )

1. Eye Cream ( This product has been reviewed across the Internet as containing myrtle oil, which is harmful for all skin types )
2. Shea Butter Hand Cream ( can’t get more generic than this. If you are a cosmetics brand, I’d recommend pitching your flagship products. Products that consumers identify only with your brand. )
3. Shower Oil ( fancy shower gel )
4. Repairing Shampoo ( more generic )

Even if I had to get down to brass-tacks and look at it purely from the cash point of view, the highest priced product in the above list costs INR 4,500 approximately. That doesn’t even cover the cost of my time spent writing this blog story berating this email. ( I would wager that this blog story would be more valuable to the cosmetics brand than the money they are currently spending on this PR Agency. )

The email goes on to say I can create a review post on my blog by TOMORROW. Apart from my focus on not “reviewing” anything, they want me to feel congratulated about doing work for them for free by TOMORROW. I experience things and places and people and unless I’m a cosmetics expert, I do not have the ability to “review” a beauty product. The best I can do is share my experience after using the product for at least seven to ten days depending on the product. Clearly this agency is clueless. ( Do check out Paula’s Choice for beauty product reviews that are actually useful. )

By the time I got to the sentence, “Click a picture on a white background”, I was amazed and laughing. I appreciate audacity but not audacious stupidity.

The email also mentions, “We will put a post on the website with your blog name”. Without specifying what website they will be sharing the photo and link to my blog story on, this is a worthless carrot they are trying to throw in. Bloggers love it when the brand shares their blog story and photos ( based on contract terms and permission to use images ) on the brand’s websites / blog / social media channels. This is great because blog traffic goes up and it is cyclical advantage to all parties.


If you are an agency or a brand that wants to work with bloggers, how about inviting a few of them for lunch / coffee and ask them for how they work and establish your parameters based on that? Don’t forget to invite bloggers from different backgrounds. Some are newbies and will bring a fresh new perspective to how they work and what excites them – they will love you. The more seasoned bloggers will have more established ways of working and if their blog is valuable to your brand’s strategy, you will know exactly how to make it work with them.

*Name not shown to protect privacy