Recipe for disaster: Netflix, sexism and sports

How many bloggers do you know who would willingly publish a guest post from an employee of a competing agency? My guess would be zero. Not so with this living-on-the-edge blogger. Here’s a superb piece from ex-Peppercommer, and current RF Binder star, Nick Gilyard…

netflix_fail_twitterEver since I hit send on my first email pitch, I’ve dreaded ending up on bad pitch blog or being blasted by a journalist on social media.  (For you non-PR types, the latter happens quite often to unsuspecting PRs.) Which is why my heart sank when I saw the headline ‘Netflix PR Preps Men for ‘Day Without Sports’ With Boring Sexist Email’.

After reading the release I agreed wholeheartedly with the author of the article. “The release’s writing is clunky terrible and assumes we all live in a snow globe from the ’50s.” Here are a few tips to avoid an unfortunate trip back in time.

1. Avoid unnecessary gendered language – By using “sports enthusiasts” and “fans” the release’s first two sentences set an inclusive tone by avoiding gender pronouns. Sadly it was all downhill from there.  “Men be warned,” denies the existence of female sports fans and is immediately polarizing.

2. Steer clear of stereotypes – Unless you’re pitching a study on stereotypes, just don’t do it. Stereotypes are usually outdated, offensive and have the added bonus of making the user look unimaginative. As PR people, we are tasked with being thoughtful and creative. Sadly a list of Netflix movies loosely strung together with sexism is neither.

3. Research – It can save you a lot of time and in this case a lot of embarrassment. A quick Google search would have revealed that women are the NFLs most important demographic and account for a growing 45% of all viewership. Also (and this is my favorite point) THERE WAS A MAJOR LEAUGE SOCCER GAME on the alleged “Day Without Sports”. So yeah, Google.

How’d you feel about the Netflix pitch? Do you have your own pitch gone wrong story or tips on how to avoid this kind of mishap? Feel free to share.


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