Many of you wrote asking about our Emmy experience last year. As we recently passed the one year anniversary of that experience, we are now ready to share our thoughts about it.
When originally contacted by Off The Wall Promotions, many representations were made via phone, email, and of course, there was a basic contract. We were excited for being found and asked to have our products in the Emmy bags, and the news of this coup (per our pre-event press releases) led to increased interest and orders. Much as it does with every promotion we’ve run since opening our business in 2005.
The odd thing about this one, though, was there was no interest, no spike in traffic, no calls – nothing – which occurred from the night of the actual Emmys and going forward. This has never happened to us.
Like other vendours who’d participated in the Emmy event, we sent emails and pinged OTW’s Facebook page when photos from the event weren’t forthcoming in a reasonable period of time. Those Facebook posts were deleted or hidden, and responses via email started to describe how busy principals were with other shows and they would ‘get back to us’. When the photos finally arrived, they were comparatively minimal as compared to other OTW published events, and gave little indication that our popcorn actually made it into the swag bags or were delivered to celebrities. We ended up speaking with several other vendour participants who shared the same experience as ours. To boot, we later learned OTW had decided to include similar products from vendours within the same celebrity swag bag. In other words, out of thirty vendours chosen across the country and a wide range of options, OTW included more than one popcorn and whoopie pie vendour in the same Emmys bag.
To make a really long story short, we ended up filing a complaint with Better Business Bureau and opening a dispute with our credit card company. OTW made several false claims, and attempted to fall back on its contract as an excuse versus the spirit of the law. Inundated with paperwork, our credit card company eventually threw its hands up in the air and issued us a partial goodwill credit to simply accept that we were bilked of several thousand dollars by OTW.
Though we had also been promised a certificate and sample tote bag once the above matter was resolved, we still never received this from OTW, either.
If you have free time on your hands and feel like doing a Google search, you will find many companies which have written press releases about their selection to participate in an Emmys event. You may even find a mention on their website. However, what you will rarely see is a post-event follow up or photos on their site about the experience.
It’s embarrassing to be taken for a ride when you’re intelligent and savvy, and I suspect many other participants don’t want their customers and friends to know they were had. Also, since it is exciting and flattering to be selected for inclusion in an Emmys gift bag, some business owners have decided to take the press and run with it – even if they never received post-event interest or orders. Fair enough. However, we also have a duty to warn others so they are not taken advantage of, particularly small business owners who have the most to lose with very personal investments of time and money.