Yeah, I’m going there. I love to watch @graywolf get his panties in a bunch about paid links and sponsored reviews, especially in light of the proposed FTC regulations. I love it mostly because I agree with him. I’m totally in the “white hat” camp – anything I work on is done with Google’s rules in mind. It’s smart business. But yeah, I think their whole ruling on paid links sucks because of the glaringly obvious double standards. I do the whole no follow thing when I review products, but I wish I didn’t have to. I disclose when I’ve received products for free, and I’m pretty honest. I mean, look at my Zarbee’s cough syrup review.
I’d like to officially announce my availability for brand advocacy for products and services I already love. Since I already love them, there’s no conflict of interest that might arise from being compensated for promoting products I might not personally believe in. (I’m not into that whole fake thing. I’d like to protect my personal integrity, thank you very much.)
If you see your product or service listed below, feel free to email me about working out some kind of product review deal, free t-shirts to wear in support of your product, conference sponsorships… the whole nine yards. Because I love you. I have over 2,000 followers between my two Twitter accounts, tweeting with my colleagues here or my fellow mom bloggers here. I’ll tweet for you, too. But I’ll no follow my blog links to your sites, because I don’t want to get smacked with the Google hammer, and I don’t want you to get smacked by them either. Not that you necessarily need to worry about that, since Google loves brands. Oh, since I’ve never actually been in contact with any of you yet, and I’ve only ever purchased your goodies, the following links will pass link juice.
Brands I <3 Forever
- Fiber One – I <3 you because I’ve been placed on a high fiber diet and I hate most vegetables. I first grew to appreciate your granola bars, but my true love now is your Fiber One Toaster Pastries. Particularly the Brown Sugar Cinnamon and Chocolate flavors, although my husband and 3 year old son prefer the Strawberry. I’d love to try some of your other products.
- Coke Zero – I <3 you because I despise Diet Coke. It’s often the only diet soda available when I’m dining out, so I tolerate it, but Coke Zero is awesome. I love that our local Five Guys has Coke Zero available.
- Diet Sierra Mist – I <3 you also because you’re not Diet Coke. You have a much better flavor than Diet 7-Up and Diet Sprite. Thanks for giving up on that ridiculous Sierra Mist Free thing.
- Potato Farmers of America – Okay, so you’re not a brand. But I <3 potatoes. Mashed, baked, roasted, cooked in foil on a charcoal grill with onions… bring ’em on!
- Cabot Cheese – I <3 your Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese the most. I <3 that you’re in Vermont, so close to me in New York. I would love to bring my son for a tour of your place.
- Pepperidge Farm Goldfish – I <3 your Original Goldfish Crackers. My son TJ prefers the “Rainbow” Goldfish Colors. I think he’d eat Goldfish at every meal if I allowed him to do so.
- Price Chopper – I <3 your grocery store, particularly #112. I worked as a cashier at #20, where I met the man who is now my husband. I go grocery shopping every Saturday with my mom and my grandma. When I bring my son with me, we have four generations shopping together. You could totally make a commercial with us. Grandma used to work as a cashier at #20 as well, and people still stop her in public because they recognize “Betty Boop,” even though she retired more than a decade ago! Maybe you could spring for a makeover for my mom and my grandma prior to shooting – they’ve never had any such thing, and they totally deserve it. Or you could skip that part, but we would be amazing advocates for you.
- Kia – I <3 my brand new Kia Sedona. It’s the first new vehicle I’ve ever owned. It really is my dream vehicle. I bought it from a dealership that I’ve long-despised – Fuccillo Kia – but I had such a pleasant buying experience that I’ve reversed my opinion of Billy Fuccillo’s business.
- Disney – I <3 most things Disney. I have since I was little. We’re in the Disney Movie Club. I have a collection of Disney snowglobes. We’re trying to plan and save for a family reunion at Walt Disney World in 2011. I’m totally willing to do a family-wide vlog of our trip if you want to work with us on that! Three children under the age of 7, hopefully four generations present if my grandma can make it. (She doesn’t fly because of her ear, doesn’t think she can afford the train.)
- Target – I <3 that you offer low prices without compromising customer service. I buy most of my family’s clothing from you. The resealable bags you put your Archer Farms chips in? Brilliant! Would it help to mention that I loathe Wal-Mart with a passion and die a little inside whenever I have to go there to find something that isn’t available anywhere else?
- Restaurants – I have to group you all together because I can’t pick one favorite, and dining out is my family’s vice. We don’t smoke, drink, or do drugs… we go out to eat. We <3 you: Five Guys, Ruby Tuesday, 99 Restaurant, Outback Steakhouse, Panera Bread, Wendy’s, IHOP, Smokey Bones, Olive Garden, Fuddruckers, Chili’s, Red Robin, Cracker Barrel, Shane’s Rib Shack, Moe’s, Uno’s.
- Friendly’s – Okay, I lied. I <3 you the best because of all my childhood and high school memories that took place at your Clifton Park location. I <3 your food. My son, who is even pickier than I am, loves you food. Anyone who doesn’t love your ice cream is crazy… or lactose intolerant. We are regular customers. Our favorite waitress watched me grow up. She took care of me at lunch on my wedding day. She took care of me when I was pregnant. I give her a Christmas card every year. Your restaurant has a lot of emotional ties for me.
This is not an exhaustive list, but it’s a list I’m passionate about. If you represent one of these brands and would like to work with me, feel free to contact me by emailing me: christina at christinagleason dot com.
And that’s not to say I can’t be approached to review other products that fit my lifestyle. I’m a 30-year old happily married mother of a preschooler. I hate cleaning. I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Generalized Anxiety Disorder, so anything involving stress relief is pretty sweet. I love junk food. I hate vegetables. But I’m trying to get healthier. Don’t worry, I now have an official blog product review policy.
* Aside from liking free stuff, I am trying to make a point that brand advocates can still be authentic, sponsored conversations are not evil, and provide an example for how not to butt heads with the FTC.
Great post, Christina! I was just saying the other day that it seems to me, the best way to be a successful internet marketer is to be genuine. You’ve nailed that, and are an example to follow. (And I love my Kia too!)
Thanks, Michelle! I’m still figuring out this whole marketing thing. I still don’t consider myself a marketer… I just write for marketers!
Excellent post. Very cool Love the shout out to all the brands you heart. Clever. And I’m a big fan of Friendly’s too. Memories of being a little girl eating there, with college friends, in grad school, and now as a Mommy sharing a Sundae with my kiddies.
I couldn’t agree more. Honesty, integrity….yes. I LOVE Publix grocery stores because they don’t just point to the aisle when you ask where something is…they take you there. I love Joe’s Crab Shack and Bubba’s restaurants in Lee County, Florida. I love Chik-Fil-A restaurants because when you say THANK YOU, they reply, “My pleasure.” I love good old fashioned customer service, makes me wanna hug people…lol… I love to review great things and shout from the rooftops how wonderful they are… But if someone sent me a sample and asked me to review it and I loved it….Guess What? I would have NOOOO Problem disclosing the fact that I got it free to review and I love it! On the same note, if I reviewed something that was horrifying….I’d say so in print… I think that’s pretty fair.
Oh, btw Christina ~ Hubby and I had a fairy tale Disney Wedding which was DIVINE and completely stress free. I felt like Cinderella. (We had 8 guests and the total price including limo, pastor, flowers, photographers, cake, champagne, hotel room for 3 nights, park tickets, a violinist, etc…was approx 5 thousand….Much less than most weddings).
I love all things Disney and I walked down the aisle to “A dream is a wish your heart makes…when you’re fast asleep….” Hubby walked to “Someday my prince will come.” ahhhhhhhhhh memories. Disney is customer service, perfection and cleanliness on steroids.