So after my successful blog ad (blad) experience with Starbucks, I was not really surprised at all to receive a phone call from Pierre Pringuet, the CEO of the French company (Pernod Ricard) which owns the Absolut vodka brand.
“Is this Mademoiselle MOV?” asked a dreamy French voice into the phone.
I was gleefully expecting an offer to write a lovely blad and work it into my posts in as unobtrusive a way as possible, with a subtle title like “50 Reasons I Love Absolut.” Fresh from my lucrative new contract with Starbucks, I had been waiting for this phone call.
“Mademoiselle, this is Monsieur Pringuet, and my legal department here at Absolut has asked me to contact you. We need you to cease writing about Absolut immediately, if not sooner.”
“Sure, when do you need my blog by?” I offered chirpily. I started to fantasize about how I would spend my new million dollars and how the tellers at the bank would be so impressed when my bank account suddenly jumped from $1,000,000 to $2,000,000. I might even take the employees at the bank a nice case of Absolut to celebrate my hard-earned success.
I wondered if the Absolut people knew exactly what a one-month supply of vodka was for a writer like myself, and I also wondered if that could include gifts. I’m sure it could, why not?
“We do NOT want you to write about us, we want you to STOP writing about us,” clarified the still-dreamy but now-somewhat-insistent-and-a-tad-bit-mean French telephone voice.
“STOP. WRITING. ABOUT. ABSOLUT.”
His French accent, truth be told, was a little thick. It sounded to me like he mumbled something about him not wanting me to write this particular essay after all. That’s okay, I thought, the Pernod Richard company owned several alcohol labels, maybe they wanted me to help launch a new one?
“Which product would you prefer-Y-vous that I write about then, sir?”
“I’m sorry, I think we have a bad connection?”
“Mademoiselle, alors, here is the situation. You wrote a blog about Pinktinis, giving the recipe and mentioning us, and we, how do I put this delicately, we received beaucoup d’ hate mail after that. Your blog is not enhancing our image. It is harming us.”
“You heard me. The probleme,” (here he drew out the word, prah—blehhhmmmm, like I couldn’t understand French) “is that your writing is killing our sales. Our stocks are down. My legal department has asked me to advise you to stop any and all reference to our product immediately. Also, we will be sending you a confirmation of this phone call with a letter in the mail so you are 100% clear on what I have said. No more writing about Absolut.”
“Not even for a recipe?”
“What about, uh, am I allowed to maybe say how clever your print ads are, the whole thing about the vodka bottle shape and the creative art campaign, and …”
“Non. Good day.” He hung up with an abrupt click.
I wonder when I’ll receive my check?
(“Mistress Of Vodka”)