Every year I do a little post on the weirdest of happenings.. the Christmas In July Goodie Bag Blaggers. I am sure – absolutely sure – there is some sort of club whose members try and go to every press launch they can wangle their way into (but aren’t invited to). Last year, it was notoriously a lady from *cough* Conde Naste Traveller Sweden who styled it out all the way through a premium brand make-over with the make-up artist with vague answers about where she worked and what features she was currently working on. Also last year, Mr Lanyard..some very strange bloke who looks more out of place at a beauty launch than a live bear and who wears a Press card on a lanyard and if pressed on where he works, mutters something about a council magazine. Yep, because there is always a lot of beauty in those.
This year, it’s three more elderly gentlemen who arrive with clipboards (for authority, you see) and say they work for some gadgety magazine that actually doesn’t exist. And, while beauty gadgets might appear occasionally in gadget mags, they’re not really the norm. I’ve also spotted another bloke (so many men.. don’t they know they’re going to stick out like a sore thumb?) who quite clearly is blagging it – the reason I know? Without exception, they all ask for champagne to drink, no matter what time of day.
I can guarantee you that there is not one single beauty writer that pitches up to Christmas in July event at 11am and starts asking for champagne. It does not happen – ever. Another massive clue is that they turn up at either breakfast, lunch or tea time.. any likely time where there will be more substantial food than an occasional canape. And they eat like it’s their last meal – if you’re at an event and wondering why canapes are a bit thin on the ground, it’s because the blaggers ate them by the hundred-weight, in between downing as much champagne as they can possibly drink. As if scamming their way to as much free food and drink as they can load up on, they always demand a goodie bag, even if it isn’t offered. Another clue – beauty journos/writers don’t usually mind if they don’t get one as they can call anything they need in later. And if anyone can tell me why three people from one (non-existent) gadget magazine need to pitch up to a beauty launch, I’d love to know.
They are just so glaringly in the wrong place; they don’t make conversation with anyone (in case awkward questions pop up) and they don’t make eye contact. They literally hover where the drink is and when they’re full up, they leave.
These launch blaggers are notorious within every industry I think and it’s so difficult for the poor PRs to host a lovely, relaxing launch to showcase their glamorous products while trying to eject three pensioners who do not want to go quietly.
PRs – add in your warnings anonymously in the comments.
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Aren’t there guest lists beforehand?
You know the big publications and it can’t be that hard to track credentials somehow right?
Come to think of it, press days.. hmm yeah anyone that knows where they are and at what time, can get in basically. They just have to hide from everyone else in case we ask who they are 😀
Not all men are like this. Please tell me that next time you’ll ask them a question? Something highly beauty related to burn their faces off with shame.
I barely ever drink alcohol cause I can’t focus anymore then (lightweight).
I suppose once they are in front of the PR’s it is harder to say no..but at all the events I have been at I have been ticked off a list/had to sign in after saying who I am.
How cheeky! Seriously, being a PR has opened me up to meeting the biggest blaggers ever. Just recently I had someone ask for a free sample and when I refused, they just simply told me that I was wrong because they’re a journalist and they always get free things sent to them.
Some people really have no shame!
I know that I would never dream of rocking up to a launch uninvited even if I worked in the beauty industry as a full time occupation (I wish so much!)
Its just rude!
Honestly, this has shocked me so much!
This it so bad! Can’t believe people do this! I’d never dream of going to an event where I wasn’t on the guest list. I don’t understand how people find out about the events when they’ve not been invited either.
It’s not just in beauty unfortunately, part of my day job (Road Safety Officer) is to organise County events to coincide with national campaigns. There’s several throughout the year but one that encompasses 4 county councils in October, it’s hosted on a college campus and I’ve had to request that school pupils wear their uniforms because the buffet lunches would be swarmed at lunch and the goody bags missing come the close of the event.
I can kind of understand fancying a goody bag of beauty bits or gadgets but I’m talking Hi-Vis vests, arm bands and stationary! Cheeky student feckers.
You’ve written about this before, and I always have the same response. The event planners bring this on themselves.
I’ve lost count of how many functions I’ve attended over the years and there has always, always been a prepared sign-in sheet that listed our name and organization. We’d have to sign in beside our name. To expedite registration, the sheets would be divided up by alphabet. Literally hundreds of people could be easily checked in in a short span of time. In the rare case that someone was not on a list, that person would be taken aside and one of the organizers would call the sending institution to see if the person was actually authorized to be there. If not, the person would be politely, but firmly, turned away. No fuss, no hassle, no confrontation, but no admittance.
Are the beauty industry PR’s so lacking in organizational skills that they can’t handle events in a professional manner? When I read posts like yours, I just shake my head.
This post would be better with pictures. Go on take pictures of the interlopers and post and shame.
OK, I know it’s bad and I know that if there are blaggers then they’re taking up spaces that could be given to other bloggers and journalists. And I know it’s horribly rude. And it’s not nice.
But still, there’s a little bit of me that rather admires the geriatric delinquents for being bad and sneaking into things. It beats the hell out of sitting round the house watching Houses Under The Hammer. I hope it leaves them feeling tickled as well as tiddly. Sorry.
wow I had no idea.. makes sense that there’s barely any canapes left but I’ve never noticed these blaggers tbh!
I know of these people but I also know of lots of weekly mag journos who drink so much booze at events theres none left for the others and theyre clearly not interested in the product, just a bit of socializing. Fine fine, but try to at least look at the product?
Hmmn well, I can see that the sheer audacity would be entertaining the first time, disturbing the second, and frankly annoying after this. For a launch that is intended to be open house / drop-in drop-out, you can’t have a morning roll call or similar. Perhaps a basic check that the blog/publication exists might be feasible though? Or some of the bloggers could shop the blaggers to the PR staff who could politely invite them to leave?
Anonymous PR #2
Anonymous PR #1 I had the exact same thing a few weeks ago and wonder if it was the same person? She practically said “don’t you know who I am?” err… I have been in this industry for 11 years and No. I don’t.
I have hosted countless events over the years and have never had anyone turn up uninvited. I never publish the full event details on The Diary of Fashion Monitor and honestly don’t know any other Beauty PRs that do? Where do these people find out about the launch? and yes how are they getting in?
I have noticed in the last 2 years a lot more random emails a few days before the event from so-called “journalists” or “bloggers” that I have never heard of or dealt with before demanding an invitation and then getting seriously arsey when told there isn’t enough space.
We recently held a launch which consisted of small sessions throughout the day. I received a email on the morning saying “Hello I am coming in place of Ms xxx from xxx magazine, can you remind me of the details and times?”
Ms xxx was never invited in beginning and I was gobsmacked someone would even try and do that.
PR’s aren’t trying to be awkward, not all journalists and bloggers can be invited to every launch. We especially at the smaller non-advertising brands have small budgets and even tighter samples quantities.
Thank you BBB for highlighting our plight and understanding our restraints so well. I wish more were like you….
blaggers as someone mentioned are everywhere. there is also a mr ‘lanyard’ in the fashion circuit, who attends the most glam events but u never know where he works. In any case, I think prs can always handle them graciously -giving them a bag. why not? it is a free ad in any case. they will pass it on to their daughters or wives. unless they are doing it on a constant basis, I would tolerate it.
My question is how they come to attend these events? unless you know someone who knows, who is in the industry, how would you know?
I think the problem lies with the organisers. First of, you need to sign in. so how come they manage to get in? then I also see poor organisation skills from PRs during press days. The object is to spread the word – most of the time I encounter press officers who look either hostile (see jenny hill ) and treat most of the people as blaggers or completely clueless press officers who are saying ‘this is new’. ok so what? the focus should be how to sort out these problems as opposed to caring about blaggers (how many are there anyway?) i also don’t agree with hierarchy in goodie bags – certain influential editors getting something, the rest don’t. either give out or don’t give out anything or give out privately.
We always get the odd one or two at our events. We have nicknames for them – ‘eaty’ guy, who we suspect is actually homeless and empties platters of pastries into a bag to take away with him; ’80s lady’, because that is clearly when she last bought anything in her wardrobe and who is not the most mentally sound, and ‘microphone man’ who will always put his hand up at a Q&A and if some unwitting person hands him the mic will ramble on for about half an hour on an entirely unrelated subject. And that’s just three of the top of my head!
I hope this post is a big lead up to your post “Christmas in July” – I loved last years and it got me so excited to see all the products that we could look forward to. I mean, it’s not as if mentioning the “C” word in July will put a dampner on the weather! Please, BBB, show us the christmas bling!
This is terrible but I did have a bit of a chuckle at the idea of it. They must stand out like anything.
How do they get in when there are usually always lists though? What they are doing is very bold; I would be far too scared of the embarrassment of turning up if my name wasn’t down for it!
I’ve never seen any of these blaggers before…! But have to agree with Wordbird…there is something quite amusing when you picture OAPs trudging along to these events…reminds me of that Sigur Ros video…naughty old people being cheeky & enjoying themselves instead of staying at the day centre knitting tea cosies.