Most of a year ago I dissected an absolutely awful and condescending marketing email I received from a PR person at Conde Nast. At the time, I objected to:

  1. The over-hyped, sex-negative headline of the item being promoted;
  2. The emailer’s utter failure to introduce herself or identify herself as Conde Nast PR at any point in the email;
  3. The fact that the PR person clearly didn’t take the time to become familiar with ErosBlog before trying to promote an obviously unsuitable item;
  4. The clueless and patronizing admonition to link to their article if I mentioned it, otherwise known as “telling me how to do my job as a blogger”;
  5. A bait-and-switch article that didn’t live up to the breathless hype of its own headline; and
  6. The bizarre used of oversexed and sexually-stereotyped slangy language throughout the article.

Well, that was then, and this is now. I just got another spammy PR email from Conde Nast. Do you think they have learned anything in the interval?

You be the judge:

Date: Mon, 09 Nov 2009 12:45:12 -0500
Subject: DETAILS: 5 Creepiest Substitutes for Women

Sex-negative headline, check! That’s a pot-calling-the-kettle-black headline if I ever saw one. If you label some sexual practice — in this case, the use of male masturbators and sex dolls — as creepy from the get-go, there’s no way this is going to be a sex-positive story. And calling them “substitutes for women” displays what strike me as deeply creepy attitudes toward women. The email goes on to confirm these creepy attitudes:

From: Taylor Harrell

Good afternoon-

We all know that women can be difficult, so scientists (and in some cases
seamstresses) have been working around the clock to provide men with an
alternative. From sex in a flashlight to body pillows that breathe, check
out the five creepiest substitutes for a woman…

We “all know that women can be difficult”, huh? Well, with that attitude, are you surprised? That’s mistake number two and mistake number three from last time, check and check! Plus an added dose of apparent misogyny!

Please link to our story if you run something online.

There’s insulting mistake number four, just like last time. I’ve only been blogging for seven years, I did not know I was supposed to do that! Check!

What about number five — does the article live up (better say, “live down”) to the headline?

Sure enough. Aside from a few gratuitous slams at the kind of people the author imagines might want the products in question, there’s absolutely no effort to explain why the products are “creepy”. The reader is just supposed to assume along with the author. Bait and switch, check!

And now, just so we can collect the whole set, is this article full of bizarrely oversexed slang? Well, actually, no; it’s better written in a functional sense than the last one. But for new bonus points, this PR email didn’t actually include a functional link to the article in question. The link included was 404, and I had to navigate to the front page of the site to find the article. That noise you hear is the foghorn on your failboat.

Verdict: still clueless at Conde Nast.