Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Going Viral

Here’s the email I got last week:



My name is L[redacted] and I am with [redacted], a viral marketing agency in the Pittsburgh area. For the past year we have been working with [redacted] to help their online presence. I came across your blog, Clubs Are Trump, and love how you tour PIttsburgh [sic] through our club sandwiches, and I think we should partner up for a fun giveaway.

[Redacted] features an ever evolving menu focused on using the freshest local, sustainable and organic ingredients with a [redacted] cuisine influence. They are also known for their unmatchable wine selection.

Here [sic] how the partnership works, first, we'd like to set up a complimentary tasting for you at the restaurant. We want you to experience the dining first hand so you can write about it for your readers. Then when you post your blog article we have a $25 gift card for you to giveaway [sic] to your readers!

This would be a great way to reward your readers and get more interaction on your blog, as well as benefit us by getting the word out about this affordable fine dining experience.

If this is something you think you would be interested in, please let me know as soon as you can so we can explain the details. Deadline for participation is the end of November.

Look forward to hearing from you!

I wasn’t born yesterday. I know that there’s no such thing as a free lunch. I was healthily skeptical. So I looked up the viral marketing agency. It had a very nice website where it mentioned names of Pittsburgh area clients I recognized. I looked up the restaurant with the ever-evolving menu of fresh local dishes. It also seemed to be for real; although, there was no sustainable organic club sandwich listed on its online menu.

Nevertheless, I thought it might be worth a try. I could expand the club tour horizons and pass on a gift lunch to some nice reader. I emailed L, and we set up an appointment for me and a friend to come in and experience a tasting course.

Sure that's great - they know you are coming. But just so you aware you two will have to share the 1 tasting course.

That was fine. The tasting course was sure to be sumptuous, plenty to share. And if it wasn’t, we could always drop by the Subway for a sustaining (if not sustainable) sandwich before heading back to work.

I got there a couple of minutes ahead of my friend. (She had texted me to say she’d be about 10 minutes late.) The pretty hostess smiled at me in welcome. I smiled back. I gave her my name and explained that L, from the viral marketing firm [redacted] had set up a tasting for me.

The hostess was sorry. She didn’t know anything about a tasting, and the manager wasn’t in.
I did not wish to make a scene. Neither did I wish to pay for lunch here. I stepped outside. I snapped a photo of the scarlet begonias growing outside the restaurant.

My friend arrived. How good to see her, yet how embarrassing to tell her there would be no tasting course. No complimentary lunch. No gift certificate giveaway on the blog.

“Okay. Want to go have lunch at Right by Nature?”

My friend is a genius.

That’s where we went. There was a plethora of sensational sandwiches piled high with fresh, local, natural, sustainable ingredients. None of them was a club, though, so I ordered pizza.

It was fantastic.