Sidepodcast - All for F1 and F1 for all

Shell shocked - An honest report of some misplaced PR dealings

Published by Mr. C

Christine and I regularly turn down PR opportunities in relation to Sidepodcast. It's not that we look down on such things, it's just that generally we don't have the time to get involved. This website is a part-time hobby, it's the thing we do after we've earned the money to keep a roof over our heads. Finding time for F1 things during the working day can be tricky, so the easiest answer to "can you...?" is normally "no".

In addition, PR related things are usually aimed at generic groups, and we do strive to be individual. We have in the past fallen into the trap of running the same competition as a dozen other sites, it's not a look we wear well.

Conversely, we have managed in the past to create completely unique content from such things. The science experiment with Shell UK back in 2009 for example, was done entirely off our own back after we realised so many other blogs had a 'we went into the pitlane and ate at Ferrari' story.

To shell and back

With the previous Shell UK experience in mind, we rather rashly agreed to do more for 2011, but things haven't gone so well. Pitched to us by Shell's PR agency, Edelman, we were bowled over by phrases such as 'tailored content' and 'working with you'. This isn't the normal stuff you hear and it sounded very exciting and different.

There are plenty of things that Sidepodcast does do differently from other sites and given more information and access to work with we could probably take a shot at making F1 fuel sound interesting (I was thinking of a live game of bingo, but that's an idea I'll save for another time). On the cards were trips to Maranello and Ferrari World, as well as to the Shell Technology Centre in Thornton.

Life took something of a turn for the worst when we discovered that prior to all the interesting things that might lie ahead, a day of discussing social media and a trip to the Science Museum was required. I don't mind admitting this filled me with dread. I do social media every single day, I'm not taking a day off to learn how to use Twitter. Plus we did the Science Museum already (and Ferrari store was more interesting). I'm a busy person and this was beneath me, but more significantly, not in the slightest bit 'tailored' to what we do either.

To cut a long and drawn out story short, requests to skip the day were rebuffed and because we really do have better things to be doing, we've decided not to be part of Shell's plans for this year.

The ideas sound compelling and interesting for the right websites, but that is not Sidepodcast.

In the comments earlier, Gavin pointed out that he'd give his right arm for free trips to Italy and Abu Dhabi and I do hope our change of plan doesn't mean someone else misses out on the opportunity. Now though, it's time to get on with some work.