Speaking Up About Engagement Chicken

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After shying away a few offers to write a PRBC post, a recipe for chicken ironically inspired me to pipe up.  Have you heard about Engagement Chicken? According to Glamour, this chicken turns boyfriends in to fiancés, and they have four staffers (and 70+ readers) who baked the recipe and received a ring to prove it.

Now Glamour is parlaying the success of Engagement Chicken into a book of “100 Recipes Every Woman Should Know.” To promote the book, Glamour’s May issue highlights seven of these recipes that will “get you everything you want in life.” Let’s discuss the highlights:

  • Engagement Chicken – I don’t really know where to begin here. The fact that several staffers at a fashion magazine, likely smart women in their 20’s and 30’s, got engaged around the time they cooked this meal isn’t that surprising to me. I’m also not sure I’d be touting Beth Ostrosky, Howard Stern’s wife, who says she got engaged 2 YEARS after cooking the dish, as a proof point.  Sealing the deal by showing your guy you know your way around the kitchen… What decade is it?
  • No-Guy-Required Grilled Steak – Sounds empowering in theory, but just to clarify, are there grill recipes that are “guy-required”?
  • Let’s Make a Baby Pasta – “All we know is that XX made it three times for her husband – and now they have three children. You do the math.” I did the math, and if I wanted a kid right now, I’d probably go the route of having a conversation with my husband rather than tricking him with my mad pasta skills.
  • Forget the Mistake you Made at Work Margarita – Ah, finally! A recipe that acknowledges women have careers… oh wait, it’s about how you screwed up at work. Would it have really been that difficult to call it the “Celebrate your Promotion Margarita” or “Moving Up the Corporate Ladder Margarita?” Or was the double alliteration that important?

I am a pretty frequent reader of Glamour, and I think they tend to do a pretty good job of showcasing incredible women who are making strides in all aspects of life, so it was really surprising to see the way they choose to market their new book in the May issue. Maybe it was intended to be lighthearted, but it seems to have pigeonholed women into some pretty dated categories.

As marketers, we know that the first step to reaching any audience is to understand them.  This is easier than ever with the rise of social communities. Find where your audience is talking, listen, and then join in with relevant and useful content. I’ll be interested to see how other readers respond, but for me, Glamour missed the mark here.

What’s your take?  Poorly executed promotion? Or have I been absorbing too much snarkyness from my officemate?

Keri Toomey is an Account Executive at BlissPR, where she specializes in the professional services sector. Her husband makes a mean lemon chicken.

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  • Sam

    Yes, but does your husband’s chicken get you to do the dishes?

    Great post, Keri.

    • http://twitter.com/KeriToomey Keri Toomey

      Thanks Sam, and indeed there is a fair division of labor in the Toomey house.

  • Rachel

    I agree with you – welcome to the 21st Century Glamour. However, to me – this is all lighthearted fun and in some ways I can relate (my first ever recipe of artichoke dip went over quite well and was a nice way to give to a person who provides a lot) However, the fact that readers have different reactions spurring additional conversations speaks to the power of their promotion approach. Don’t you think?

    • http://twitter.com/KeriToomey Keri Toomey

      Thanks for your comment Rachel. I do think Glamour’s intentions with this were to be more lighthearted, I just think they could have reframed and executed in a better way. Your point about spurring up conversations is also a good one, but at the same time, I’m not a believer that all PR is good PR.