In keeping with the initial purpose of this post, sharing the amazing smoothies bloggers have created for Williams-Sonoma “Not Your Typical Smoothie Week”, which ran from the last week of October through the third week in January, I’ve rearranged this post to share the smoothies first. The background story and updates are in chronological order below them.
Backstory: I was recently contacted by the Community Coordinator for Williams-Sonoma and asked to participate in “Not Your Typical Smoothie” week. A quick google search for “Not Your Typical Smoothie” led me to discover that it’s evidently been Not Your Typical Smoothie week for several months, with bloggers developing recipes and linking to Williams-Sonoma blenders throughout both November and December. I found dozens of participating bloggers. Searching the Williams-Sonoma website, the Williams-Sonoma blog, and the Williams-Sonoma twitter account came up with no evidence that they’ve ever shared anyone’s recipes that they developed. So I e-mailed Williams-Sonoma and asked them why they hadn’t shared any of this amazing work with anyone. Their reason? The original e-mail I received wasn’t from Williams-Sonoma.
I don’t understand why someone would impersonate a company to solicit recipe blog posts and pressure bloggers to put links to Williams-Sonoma blenders on their website. I do agree that the practice seems inconsistent with what I’d expect from a company like Williams-Sonoma. When I wrote about companies soliciting blog posts yesterday, it hadn’t even occurred to me that someone would be impersonating the company.
The downside is that people put in work to develop a recipe for nothing in return. The upside is there are a ton of really great smoothie recipes out there with fun ingredients, showing the creativity and talent of tons of bloggers, and I’ve now found them via this google search. Which brings me back to the downside, that Williams-Sonoma didn’t solicit these posts and therefore they won’t receive publicity from the company. Their readers still get to enjoy these recipes, but I think they should get more than that!
The more I sifted through search results, the more amazed I was at the creativity, passion and enthusiasm of these bloggers who so generously took time to create posts on this topic, thinking it was for Williams-Sonoma. They should be seen, and I’m going to share them with you here. I’ve labeled the ones that are vegan so fellow plant-based enthusiasts can find them more easily. Enjoy!
PS – If you participated in Smoothie Week for Williams-Sonoma and your post isn’t featured here, please let me know in the comments section and I will add it! There were so many that it’s taken time to compile them all, and I am sure I’ve missed some.
1/14/2015 12:30 p.m. Update: The @WilliamsSonoma twitter account is telling me that the “Not Your Typical Smoothie” campaign is actually being run by Williams-Sonoma. They’ve promised to explain the process. I hope these bloggers get publicity for their work!
1/14/2015 evening update: I’ve received an e-mail from Williams-Sonoma and responded with some questions and an urge for more transparency in the future. They will be featuring selected recipes as part of their #30Days30Ways and #wswellness campaigns this month. I am pleased that some of the participating bloggers will get publicity from Williams-Sonoma, that’s a big deal, and they have some incredible smoothie posts to choose from!
My take-away is that for bloggers and companies to have positive and mutually beneficial partnerships with one another, clear communication of expectations on both sides in advance of content creation is key.
I encourage participating bloggers in “Not Your Typical” Smoothie Week to give Williams-Sonoma feedback. Communication could help shape the way they run future campaigns.
Update 1/16/15: I received an e-mail last night from Williams-Sonoma stating they have selected recipes to share via Facebook and Pinterest, and their digital media team will notify bloggers in the coming days.
I look forward to seeing the ones they’ve chosen.
Update 1/23/15: Williams-Sonoma sent a tweet this morning with a link to their pinterest board “Not Your Typical Smoothie” where they’ve featured 27 smoothies from their 3 month “Not Your Typical Smoothie Week” campaign. They promised a Facebook compilation album also, still waiting for that to go live. When it does I’ll post a link there, also.
As this whole thing unfolded, four goals developed.
1. To make bloggers more aware of the need to ask questions before working with companies.
2. To make Williams-Sonoma aware of the way their partner Heather handled the campaign, ie that she was running “the first installment of Not Your Typical Smoothie Week” for several months running, pressuring bloggers to add links to Williams-Sonoma blenders on their website in exchange for social media coverage they then went months without receiving, and setting artificial deadlines for bloggers who worked hard to develop recipes at busy times in their lives because they were excited to participate…. only to discover the next week was again “smoothie week”.
3. To encourage Williams-Sonoma to provide the social media coverage Heather promised bloggers they would receive. (Some of these bloggers have been waiting since before Halloween.)
4. To encourage Williams-Sonoma to finally end “Not Your Typical Smoothie week” and improve how clearly they communicate with bloggers about deadlines and what bloggers will receive (and when) in terms of social media publicity if they decide to participate in future campaigns.
Williams-Sonoma has continued to correspond with me via e-mail. I believe they’re now aware of how this campaign was managed, and how many bloggers feel about it. They’re going to provide social media coverage to selected bloggers this month.
All that remains to be seen is whether “Not Your Typical Smoothie” Week is finally over, and if they’ll run better campaigns in the future. I’ve sent them one (hopefully last) more e-mail asking if Heather will stop sending out e-mails asking bloggers to participate in “Smoothie Week”. This is what I received in reply:
Thank you, Williams-Sonoma for continuing to correspond with me, for featuring some of these recipes on Facebook and Pinterest, and for considering changing the nature of future campaigns.
Best wishes to all my fellow bloggers.