The mark of a questionable publicist is one who blindly sends out releases without checking to see if the content would remotely appeal to the reporters and websites he or she is pitching. For example, does it matter to FishbowlDC readers that koalas at the San Diego Zoo were tested for Chlamydia? Probably not, but that’s an actual release we received from the zoo’s media relations department.
Likewise, we received followup pitches Wednesday for two new “fresh” premium sandwiches 7-Eleven is offering that include ingredients such as baby spinach and blue cheese crumbles. A release even included a quote from Kelly Buckley, 7-Eleven V.P. of fresh food innovation (yes, this position actually exists and we hope WaPo‘s Gene Weingarten is onto this for his next column.) “I wanted to check and see if you had any questions regarding 7-Eleven’s new Fresh Sandwiches?” the email said. “Please let me know if there is anything I can do.”
Reaction in the Fishbowl was widespread. “I dunno, I think we need to give our fresh gas station sandwiches coverage a rest,” I wrote my editor, who replied, “I get nauseous just thinking about eating at 7-Eleven.” My colleague, Peter Ogburn, remarked, “I’ll write this right after I finish my piece on ‘Wawa’s Fresh New Pizza Dunkers’, ‘Exxon’s Bold New Beef Jerky Sliders’ and ‘Citgo’s Ultimate Nacho Bangers.’”
The thought of eating anything, “fresh” or otherwise, from a 7-Eleven makes us sweat. We admire perseverance, however, so we sent back five questions about the new sandwiches (the Steakhouse Roast Beef Sandwich and the Bistro Deluxe Sandwich). We wanted to know…
1. If they’re fresh, are they made to order by a 7-11 worker? Or are they pre-made each day and set under a heat lamp? If they’re under a lamp, how long are they allowed to sit there?
2. Which sandwich would be the best option for a reporter living a fast-paced lifestyle in Washington, D.C.? Why?
3. Would you recommend chewing a piece of gum after eating one of the sandwiches, as to avoid bad breath?
4. Has any horse meat been identified in the sandwiches?
5. If one were to try a fresh sandwich and found a fresh hair in it, could he return it for a refund?
The publicist, Caitlin Caruso with the P.R. company, Ketchum, has yet to get back to us. What happened to “let me know if there is anything I can do”?!