Remember an an earlier post about all the loot food bloggers receive, including offers of a free car? It’s happening again, at the Northwest Food and Wine Festival (note home page promoting Buick rather than food and wine) coming up in Portland, OR.
Two well-known bloggers forwarded this email, which offers them not just a car but lodging for two nights and free tickets to the event:
“Because we know you love fine wine and good food, we wanted to invite you to be Buick’s guests the weekend of the Northwest Food and Wine Festival, Nov. 13 and 14 in Portland, Ore. Buick is the official automotive sponsor of the Northwest Food and Wine Festival, and we think you’d enjoy experiencing a selection of the more than 800 Pacific Northwestern wines and 50 restaurants that will be offered there.
“To get you (and a guest) to and from the festival, Buick would like to loan you the new 2010 LaCrosse. As part of the culinary adventure, we’d also like to pay for two nights of lodging in downtown Portland at the Benson Hotel and give you two free tickets to the Northwest Food and Wine Festival.
Here’s what they’d have to do in exchange:
“In return, we ask only that you enjoy the vehicle, attend a Buick-hosted Tweetup cocktail party Friday, Nov. 13, participate in a ride and drive and lunch on Saturday, Nov. 14, attend the Northwest Food and Wine Festival Saturday evening, and if you are moved to do so, share your experiences.”
And then, at the end of the email, there’s flattery:
“Buick is offering this opportunity to only a handful of the most influential foodies on the West Coast..”
Buick makes no overt demand that these bloggers write about the car. That’s not classy. Instead, company officials hope that by the time these bloggers do the following:
- spend hours at the cocktail party, where Buick will promote the car
- attend a lunch, where Buick will promote the car
- test drive other cars Buick promotes during the “ride and drive” they agreed to attend
- and drive around all weekend in the car
…they might write about the vehicle in a Tweet, on their Facebook pages, or (heaven help us) on their food blogs.
If they do so, it’s a cheap way for Buick to get its message out to targeted car buyers, whom the car company has determined are also these bloggers’ audience. When influential people endorse a product, it’s far better than if Buick just bought an ad in a magazine. And most of the time, it’s less expensive, too.
If I got this email, I’d press the Delete key. I wouldn’t want to write about a car in my food blog. No matter how tempting it is to save money on tickets, a room, and a rental car, it wouldn’t be worth all the time spent at Buick promotions when I could be enjoying the food and wine. I have no doubt, however, that many food bloggers will take them up on it.
And you? Would you mention the car in social media or on your blog, in exchange for these goodies? Or might you feel justified in taking the freebies, then not mentioning the car, since it’s not required? How would you work it, or would you?