This story first appeared on PR Daily in October 2011.
A company that makes sex toys produces an awfully dull press release.
Adam & Eve, a North-Carolina-based adult products company, issued a press release on Wednesday about its third-quarter profits. It included jargon, canned quotes, the works. In brief, a little stiff.
“‘We are greatly pleased with the third quarter 2011 results,’ says Chad Davis, director of marketing for Adam & Eve. ‘This has been a stellar year for Adam & Eve so far.’
“Davis attributes these results to increased acceptance for advertising in mainstream media as well as decreased marketing costs and minor reductions in overheard.”
"Although we still utilize traditional paper-based marketing channels, we have found that many new methods of customer acquisition work more efficiently for us. Paid search, email and new media efforts including podcasts and mainstream television placement have made us a more efficient multi-channel marketer," says Davis.”
Sound familiar? Whether your company makes paper or provides health care, you’ve probably written something like this and figured that people who work in more, shall we say, exciting industries get to be more creative.
At least that’s what I thought.
Curious and crestfallen, I reached out to Adam & Eve’s PR director Katy Zvolerin to ask whether this press release is typical. She said the company does produce more playful press releases, but the one about quarterly profits had a specific audience in mind.
“For corporate type releases like this, management prefers it be more serious,” Zvolerin said in an email. “It also helps with advertisers when we are perceived to be more mainstream.”
“I think you need to write with your audience in mind,” she added.
She then shared one of the company’s more playful press releases. This one dealt with “naughty word play during sex,” and it was recently discussed by the ladies on “The View.” According to the press release, a survey commissioned by Adam & Eve found that 80 percent of respondents talk dirty between the sheets.
The press release featured commentary from Dr. Kat Van Kirk, who is the company’s resident sex expert. Chad David, the director of marketing at Adam & Eve, also made an appearance, and this time his remarks were decidedly less garbled.
“I am pleased to see that American adults are open enough to enjoy even a little dirty talk, and see it as a fun and important part of a healthy sex life. Adam & Eve encourages adults to embrace their sensual side through education, communication and a wide array of products to make any erotic encounter better.”
That’s a far cry from “utilizing traditional paper-based marketing channels.”
Zvolerin shared a third type of press release with me—one that’s more, ahem
, adult in nature—about one of Adam and Eve’s recent productions. She said they only distribute those releases to the adult press. Here’s a safe-for-work excerpt:
“Blonde, beautiful Alexis heads back to school with some sexy classmates—and nothing can stop them from pursuing the pleasures of one another and their pick of the biggest men on campus!”
The quote that follows this description is unlike anything else I’ve ever read in a press release, and I’ll just leave it at that.
Perhaps even more shocking than the lurid press release was Zvolerin’s admission that she enjoys writing the more staid quarterly profits updates.
“For me, the lighter, less serious press releases make it easier to write the drier, more serious ones,” she explained. “It's actually a nice change for me to work on the more corporate, socially acceptable ones.”
One way or the other, it’s all about the bottom … line.