The event is being held at a fancy hotel, and they are expecting around 140 guests.
They mentioned who the celebrity was (I'm aware of her - Munroe Bergdorf, model and high profile campaigner I quite admire), and also listed a lot of names from the guest list, of whom I recognised a few as pop stars, and fashion folk.
The PR company stated in return of the “support” cake we would get a tag on the celeb’s socials, and photos and videos from the event and they are trying to secure coverage in Vogue magazine.
If you do the bare minimal research on me, you’d know my feelings about sponsorships and gifted cakes. The email instantly got my back up. Not only have they not looked us up, but they’re asking for £1,500 worth of cake in exchange for exposure. I’m working mad hours trying to get through this awful cost of living crisis, just made a huge life change of moving out from London to the countryside, commuting 2.5 hours each way to work and getting home unpacking boxes till 2am, have my practical driving test tomorrow, and these clowns are really pushing my buttons.
At first I thought I’d play along. Let’s lead them up the garden path, and then on the day I’ll send them a practical joke cake with a message, “Support Small Business you absolute aubergines”. But that would entail expenses of a box and delivery that our margins currently can’t even take for the sake of a joke. Tres triste.
I then thought of sending a snarky reply. Cuz I love doing that. But soon realised the PR doesn’t care. They’ve very likely sent that email to every other cake maker they found on the first three pages of Google and someone else would bite at this amazing “support” opportunity and thus keep the free cake cycle going. So I thought nah, I’m not letting them do this easily. I shared the email on our Instagram in the hope that other cake makers see and don’t fall for this. And if they did, I could at least have a giggle at the eventual “exposure” they get paid.
As I posted on Instagram, the response was of overwhelming support and frustration on my behalf, which is always nice to see. But then the PR company started sending me antagonising emails about “breaching confidentiality” etc. Which is ridiculous - look, don’t name drop if you don’t want names to drop. Also, about confidentiality…if you come into my house, and want me to keep a secret, ask me in advance about keeping a secret - if I say no, then don’t tell me. It might help the PR to read up on NDAs going forward. An email signature does not constitute as a Confidentiality Agreement. Also, their "confidentiality disclaimer" relates to the sole use of the intended recipient...which ummm was me, and how I choose to use the email is therefore up to me. This is amateur hour legalese. They also apparently claimed later that they were gonna pay (which sounds a lot like the NVRLND script…and absolutely NOT how to respond to being found out). If you were going to pay, you would ask, "how much?", like every paying customer does, instead of asking for "support". This back-pedalling does not fly here.
What was most surprising was Munroe herself reached out to me - both via DM and commenting on the post, very quickly after seeing my post. She had no idea of the contents of the email. It’s not her PR, but a third party. They aren’t her team. They had no business sharing her guest list or even mentioning her employer and making any claims of exposure on offer. She is mortified and embarrassed, and I genuinely believe she wouldn’t have asked them to send beggy emails.
As with the nature of social media, there will be some who think the request came from her. Munroe didn’t ask, nor know this was being done on her behalf, and as soon as she got wind of my outrage she reached out. We’ve chatted over DMs and now spoken on the phone and I will say, she is genuinely gutted and cringed out.
I wish I had given her the benefit of the doubt, and written to her directly. She may or may not have responded, but instead of seeing red, at least I’d have given her the opportunity to put it right before it caused her grief. It’s also her birthday, and I don’t want to ruin birthdays (considering I’m in the business of making birthdays great!)
This story has a happy ending. And this is a first in the history of freebie requests. Never ever seen before. I’m shooketh. I am actually making Munroe’s cake. They actually have the budget and are paying. There was no shade thrown at me a la Aunty Cath, “HoPe ThE CaKe LaDy GoT ThE ExPo$uRe ShE WaS KrAyVin”, or "We got an even cooler cake" nonsense. Only genuine empathy and support. I may even go to her party (which, now that I live in the sticks, is going to be the highlight of my social calendar!). Now all I need is for the powers above to help me pass my driving test tomorrow.
Wish me luck. And thank you as always for your support. And Munroe, I’m sorry for the grief caused and look forward to baking for you!
An Update to the Update: following this story being featured in the Daily Mail, apparently the event has been cancelled and there is no cake order. I’ve not been given much details, but do think it’s a crying shame as it would’ve been such a cool story for once. PRs and slebs getting called out for shadiness -> sleb comes through -> cake maker gets paid. Ah well, was too good to be true.
And my driving test? Don’t wanna talk about it :(
Tomorrow will be a better day. Hopefully!