Tuesday, May 14, 2013

This Knot Helps No One

At least twice a week I get calls from salesmen wanting me to advertise in their publications, usually a bride-centric or wedding-themed issue.  I almost always say "No", and for two reasons.  First of all, I rarely see any leads from print media.  Maybe that's my fault for coming up with goofy ads, maybe it's the publisher's fault for not getting it into enough hands, or maybe it's the reader's fault.  I really don't know - let's just say I've tried it and not been happy with the money I've spent.

But my biggest problem has to be with the content that these magazines come up with for their "Wedding" issues.  I once advertised in a local magazine that said "Bridal cakes are all the rage these days and prices have gone up; be prepared to pay anywhere from $1 - $2.50 per serving for your cake."  Say what?!?  At the time, I was about the cheapest cake vendor in town (tied with Publix) and my prices started at $3.00 a serving.  I literally had a fit on those people.  I told them I had basically just paid a tidy sum for them to announce to their entire readership that my prices were WAY too high, when that was FAR from the case!  No one at the magazine could even tell me where they got their information for their Wedding Cake article.  Maybe from their grandmother's archive of old magazines?

Another time I found out that I had been voted "Best Bakery" by our local "Your Hometown Magazine".  I decided to run a small "Thank you" ad in the magazine just so people would have my number handy after reading it.  When I got the magazine, I opened it to find that they had done a huge article on a competing bakery across town!  I was floored by the lack of planning on the magazine's part.  It wasn't long before their salesman called wanting to know how excited I was to run some more ads in their publication.  I told them about my disappointment and the only thing they could say was "Yeah, I guess that was bad timing, huh?"  You betcha!

This weekend I was in Atlanta and stopped in a book store and a quick coffee break.  Someone had left a copy of the Georgia version of The Knot laying on the table next to ours so I decided to thumb through it.  I have advertised with The Knot in the past and I've had my share of issues with them, but they generally give out good information to brides.  So when I found a "What to Ask Your Baker" section, I thought I had better read it so that I could be prepared for these questions.  I almost spit out my latte when I read that brides should ask me if my "buttercream is made from imported Italian butter!"  If I get asked this I am going to respond "No, but I have an imported Italian cow that I milk everyday, just to make butter!"  Seriously?  I consider that my time as well as the bride's time is valuable and asking crazy questions like this does no good for anyone.

So brides, if you happen to read this, make sure that you realize that all these great articles you read in Bridal magazines are usually written by someone who has little to no knowledge of the actual service they are advising you about.  Decide what's important to you, make a list, and ask your baker (or other vendor) those questions instead.

And bakers, have you noticed this type of silly or downright misinformation in publications before?  What was the worst cake "advice" you've seen in print?  And do any any of you use imported Italian butter in your buttercream?

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