(Indecent) Anatomy of a Sponsored Post
June 25, 2012
(This post is a work of hyperbole and wild exaggeration. Any resemblance to actual sponsored posts, living or dead, is purely coincidental. No animals were harmed in the making of this post, but one living room sofa was, kind of.)
Step One: You get an email asking if you'd like your site included on a proposal for a sponsored campaign. Please to respond by EOD.
(Or more accurately, you FIND an email asking if you'd like your site included on a proposal for a sponsored campaign...usually a few hours after the EOD deadline, dammit.)
At this point the campaign is usually very far off ("timeframe is late Septemboctovemberish.") and the topic is impossibly vague and squishy-sounding, like: WRITE A POST ABOUT BEING A MOM. HEALTHY KIDS. RECYCLING. CLEANING PRODUCTS. SKRILLEX.
Step Two: You of course reply in the affirmative. Yes! I absolutely have something to say about cheese/identity theft/breakfast cereal/dry-erase markers!
Even if you actually don't, it's best to just say yes because 1) 99% of these things go absolutely nowhere and you'll never hear about them again, and 2) Whatever! You totally have until late Septemboctovemberish to think of something anyway.
Step Three: Forget about it completely. Be in the midst of some major naturally-occurring life storyline on your blog, the kind that will make the sudden appearance of sponsored content feel completely jarring and annoy the maximum number of readers.
Step Four: OH HEY IT'S TIME TO WRITE ABOUT THAT THING YOU AGREED TO SIX MONTHS AGO, WHICH HAS NOW CHANGED THE TOPIC ON YOU FOURTEEN TIMES AND SENT OUT FOUR DIFFERENT VERSIONS OF TRACKING LINKS AND LOGOS — please use the SECOND version we sent, not the most recent, thnx — AND NOW THE CLIENT WANTS PRE-APPROVAL ON YOUR COPY, WHICH THEY WILL NATURALLY HATE, AND COULD YOU PUBLISH IT ON SUNDAY AT 10:43 PM SO THEY CAN GET MAD AT YOU FOR FAILING TO LIVE UP TO TRAFFIC EXPECTATIONS?
Step Five: Profit! Well, after sales commissions, taxes, and the fact that you were desperate enough for content that you went out and like, bought props, and paid a babysitter to take your children to the pool while you stared at your laptop for hours in writer's-block-related terror because you have nothing interesting to say about cat litter.
Point is, sometimes sponsored posts can be a lot more work than you anticipate. (NOTE: This is not a sponsored post, though I guess it is technically brought to you by First World Problems.) Sometimes your first draft or idea ends up being completely unusable, because the scope of the campaign or desires of the client change, or because you end up with a giant penis-shaped stain on your sofa.
So last week I had that handy-household-tip campaign from Pine-Sol, right? (NOTE: That campaign was not at all an example of the off-the-rails campaign detailed above, for the record. Nothing but love for the Pine-Sol people. This clusterfuck was ALL ME.) It was originally going to run before we left for the beach, and I decided to write about my couch. For Ezra had scribbled all over the arm with a ballpoint pen:
(A ballpoint pen that my husband BOUGHT for him. Because it was in the shape of an ICE CREAM CONE. Because the man has learned NOTHING and should probably read more MOMMYBLOGS for AUTHENTIC, REAL-WORLD ADVICE, brought to you by the letter NO and the number HEADDESK.)
So I always use hairspray on pen stains. Plain, cheap-as-possible hairspray, preferably. But then the campaign date got bumped back a week, and in the craziness of packing for the beach, I completely forgot to buy some. The only stuff I had was some Paul Mitchell "extra-body volumizing finishing spray," which is LIKE hairspray but...not. I don't know? What is "finishing spray," really? What am I even spraying on my head? I honestly can't tell you, but it seemed like maybe a bad thing to spray all over a prominently visible part of my couch.
And then I packed it before remembering that I at least wanted to do a test patch, like on the underside of a cushion. (Where there are probably also pen stains. And red wine. Possibly curry. Our sofa has a wonderfully aged patina of TOTAL FILTH.)
So on Sunday morning, Jason packed up the car and I desperately looked around for an alternate Stain Solution that I could quickly take before-and-after pictures of. Just so I could get the post written and scheduled without depriving my children a minute of all the fun we were surely going to have, since this was before the week devolved into wanton property damage and ridiculous vet bills.
A quick Google search suggested that rubbing alcohol was excellent at removing ink stains from microfiber furniture. Ah! Yes! I knew that. I have that! LET'S DO THIS THING.
In my haste, I had neglected to really think a few things through. 1) I didn't do a test spot, but instead went immediately whole-hog with the alcohol all over the arm, 2) There was NO WAY the couch was going to fully dry before we left, so I probably wasn't going to get a good "after" photo, especially since my hair dryer was buried in the bottom of a suitcase that was already out in the car, and 3) DUDE YOU FUCKING DREW A PENIS AND NUTSACK ON YOUR COUCH.
Well. THAT'S not very brand-friendly.
I frantically tried to soak up the alcohol, while dabbing more in other places in an attempt to camouflage my accidental artwork. Then I paced around in circles, hoping that it would dry AND that the pen stains would vanish along with it, because I COULD STILL SEE THE STUPID PEN.
The good news: 1) The alcohol really did get rid of the pen stains, and 2) dried in time for me to take one final "after" picture.
The bad news:
Hello! Welcome to my home. Please have a seat next to the Sell-Out Penis Outline of Fail.
(ANY FURNITURE COMPANIES LOOKING FOR COUCH-RELATED SPONSORED POST OPPORTUNITIES PLEASE INQUIRE WITHIN. I WRITE REAL GOOD FOR YOU CHEAP-LIKE PROMISE OKAY?)