Peppercomm has won its fair share of PR industry awards over the years, but nothing prepared me for the positive deluge of vendor inquiries that flooded my cell phone, office land line, e-mail in-box and, yes, Virginia, even my desk itself after we'd been named ‘Best Workplace in NYC’ by Crain's New York Business.
Many were from the usual suspects such as boiler room stockbrokers who wanted to share some secrets on a little-known, but positively, skyrocketing penny stock. And, of course, there were the oh-so-friendly, but gravely concerned, life insurance salesmen who worried that, as top kick at NYC's top business, I may find myself woefully unprepared financially IF the worst should happen.
There were also the restaurant venues, the limo services, the men's tailors, etc. But, there were also some genuinely funny, and unexpected pitches, including these:
1.) “Now that you're ‘A Number One and Top of the Heap’' shouldn't you be sharing that success with customers by sending them their own, personally engraved desktop model of The Empire State Building? Nothing else says you've made it in the Big Apple like our six-inch tall statuettes.”
2.) “When you're the premium company in NYC, your employees, customers and prospects expect you to ACT like a premium company. And, nothing says premium like personalized gifts from Tiffany's for one and all.” Yeah, right. And, nothing says overnight bankruptcy like, say, an order of 5,000 premium items from Tiffany's either.
3.) “Does your silverware and china tell visitors to Peppercomm that you're NYC's best workplace? If not, they should. It's time to say good-bye to plastic knives, forks and spoons and hello to the same china and silverware used in the boardrooms of Goldman Sachs, Exxon-Mobil and Johnson & Johnson, to name just a few." Ah, I don't think so. We'll stick with the plastic ones for now. Thank you very much.
And, then there was my personal favorite: Cuban Pete's hand-rolled cigars:
“Dear Steve: Nothing says success like treating your V.I.P.s to a special celebratory party at which our specially-trained, cigar hand-rollers literally work their magic in front of your guests. Hand-rolled cigars have been synonymous with success for ages. And, it's time you (and your V.I.P. customers) entered that rarefied air.” I'd have chosen the adjective toxic, rather than rarefied, but declined nonetheless.
Please don't misunderstand me. I'm flattered with the accolades. And, I'm thrilled that, unlike the best PR workplace competitions, we didn't have to beat, say, an Edelman or Burson. We had to outshine Microsoft and MetLife, among many others.
From a credibility standpoint, a Crain's award trumps one from my industry's trades in oh-so-many ways. (Note: it was also nice NOT to receive a call from a Crain's salesperson a few weeks prior to the event suggesting a print ad in the special awards luncheon program 'couldn't hurt our chances.').
Sure. Winning the top spot also brings out the crazies in record numbers. But, hey, as my friend and trainer, Mario Godiva (www.mariogodivafitness.com) likes to say after he's deluged with such pitches as the result of a New York Times profile or Steve Harvey segment, 'It's a First World problem.