Lovely Followers

Thursday, 1 October 2009

PR, Free Products and Review - My pledge.

When Allesandro Volta proved that electricity could travel along wires over two hundred years ago, I don't think he could have imagined the world we now live in being dominated by electricity, telecommunications and computing.

I feel a bit like Volta when just over two years ago I started watching make up videos on YouTube and I can't believe where it has lead me.

So it got me thinking about what I have been doing and seeing recently. Gurus, myself included, promoting things for PR companies, how do I feel about that? Well I am quite picky about who I promote and why. Mainly because of my cruelty free only ethic but also that I don't want to be seen as a mere marketing channel to be used to reach an audience who don't respond to conventional marketing (TV and magazines). What I think of products and how I use them are personal and I put time and effort in to trying to make my reviews useful and honest.

I am genuinely pleased and flattered to be considered a spokesperson for the make up enthusiast and that on some level people care what I think of a product when considering whether to try it. But I don't like what I am seeing on Blogs and YouTube lately, people only writing blogs and making videos to get free stuff - why, if you want to be popular and appreciated it takes more than free stuff.

I pledge to you readers and viewers:

To be honest about where my cosmetic products come from, whether they have been given to me to try or whether I have bought them. I buy about 95% of what I review and try out.

I will always be honest about what I think of them but I will not slate something or cast aspersions on companies, I can only speak of my experiences. I welcome feedback on your thoughts on products that I have reviewed and whether they have worked for you.

When I do a giveaway, it will only be for products that I use myself and like to use. They may be given to me by PR agencies and companies but they way I see it is that if I like the product and got it for free, I want to give something to my viewers and readers so they can try it for free too.

A note to PR and cosmetics companies: expect to be grilled about being cruelty free and I expect to try products I select and not the latest product being promoted by everyone else! Do not think I will just give products a glowing review just because I got a product for free, which I could have bought myself, that novelty has worn off!


  1. Three cheers for Oxford Jasmine- excellent blog post! I think I may make a pledge of my own- state honestly and clearly my stance on the grey area of freebies and relationships with PRs.

  2. Think we are definitely coming to a point where clarification has to be's fine to be sponsored or a spokesperson as long as that's clear from the get-go...why shouldn't you have some longer term benefit from the work you are doing? But, I also think that the freebie-hunters are quickly spotted and weeded out. We know who they are: PR's won't find it hard to suss out either. It's fantastic that there are so many dedicated bloggers and YT Reviewers that genuinely don't want to see the blogosphere littered with chancers and are vigilant in trying to prevent it. Above all, blog and review followers are pretty on the ball - they spot a fake a mile off. BBBX

  3. Well said Jasmine, I think this is the post I agree with the most out of all others! I will most definately continue to review products I get sent, as well as bought and I will review the good, as well as the bad.. They asked for our VIEW after all :)

  4. This post is a great example for other bloggers to follow suit. I also wanna say thanks for being so honest in your recent YouTube review of the Body Shop lippies. I think Body Shop actually gained customers because at the end you said that you like their other products so much. The fact that you have so much credibility in my eyes makes me want to try out Body Shop now, just avoid their lipsticks. Thanks. :)

  5. Thanks for saying this. I love reading blogs, watching reviews and tutorials on YT. It saddens me to think that people might not be totally honest in what they are doing. Great post. Thank you for being so up front and honest.


  6. I'm very pleased to read you, Jasmine and always appreciate your honesty. I love your blog and videos and find them very helpfull. :)

  7. I like this post. Thank you for putting together such a well written and heart felt post.

    When I joined the blogging/beauty internet world I had not idea about any of this. I joined to get advice/make friends/ learn how to make the most of myself and my makeup. I have learned a lot and now feel more confident because of it.

    Thank you for making your pledge Jasmine. :)

  8. Thanks for that Jasmine my sentiments exactly blogger and You Tube ne3ed honest reviewers we just have to make sure the honest voices are heard the loudest x

  9. I think it's good to be honest about whether you've had something for free. Although in all honestly I don't think it's the transparency that's the root of the issue - most bloggers are perfectly fine to admit they've had something for free.
    I enjoy your reviews Jasmine because you cover a lot of the smaller brands that I've never heard of. I've just been losing the will to live recently reading a zillion Maybelline reviews. Seems like everyone has forgotton to actually carry on seeking out new and interesting products! Keep up the good work xx

  10. great post :) xox

  11. Jasmine, you are old enough and canny to know what these PR companies are after. Unfortunately some of these young girls don't. They are not experienced to know that they are being exploited. Free publicity for very little outlay. Such is the world of big business.

  12. It's wonderful for you to say that, honesty is the best policy! :D

  13. This is wonderfully honest. I appreciate that you are cruelty free and you will not compromise for free products.

    Getting free things every once in a while isn't bad and it is obvious you are not doing this FOR free products.

  14. Great post Jasmine... I work in PR (not for beauty brands right enough...darn it) and also just recently started blogging and it's been really interesting to read the feedback from bloggers.

    I was offered a product to review not long after I started my blog and it felt very bizarre being on the other side of the fence... I don't think I will review anything other than products I've bought myself... I felt quite stressed by it to be honest.

    The thing is though, when PRs send out products to journalists, more often than not, they don't make the cut because of the sheer volume of products that journalists get sent and the limited editorial space that magazines have these days.

    I think it's a shame that bloggers feel that they have to review products because PRs certainly can't put any pressure on journalists... I guess I feel that if PRs want to treat bloggers as media outlets, they need to treat them with the same respect and courtesy that they would a journalist... ie. no thinking that one free product equals guaranteed (and positive!)coverage.

    Sorry to ramble on... and thanks again for the honest and productive post!


  15. I think this is a really important topic... I am sooo sick of seeing Sigma Brush contest videos- and hair appliance commercials on YouTube. I always enjoy watching your videos because of the insight you provide- you're not just saying a product is good- you're giving us your honest feedback and sharing your personal tips.

  16. Jasmine, you are truly the best!

  17. Hey Jasmine, in the end, I think we as consumers will grow from this experience. So I wrote a post on how to spot potential promo videos. I hope you check it out. I gave you a shout out for this awesome post of yours!

  18. I never watch videos of pr products anymore. In fact I unsubscribed from all gurus who were doing the reviews - it really got on my nerves.

    I think the disgust people feel over the over reviewing has led to the need for beauty guru's to go back to their roots - review things they buy (due to word of mouth / friend recommendations etc), and stop feeding the pr machine that has all but murdered youtube.


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