Written By:

Sarah Sarver


03. PR Boxes img min

Sarah Sarver

February 24, 2024

PR Mailers: A Tool to Elevate Your Brand or a Quick Way to Alienate your Biggest Fans

Recently there has been a lot of chatter around influencer unboxing videos. One that sparked outrage was from a creator who posted a video opening two months’ worth of PR boxes she received in a way that made it clear she wasn’t familiar with or a fan of any of the brands. While there certainly is a time and place for a well-designed and strategic PR mailer, the conversations in the comment section of this post made it clear that PR mailers have become, in their worst form, mass spam and a waste of time and money for clients, if their agencies don’t do the work to be sure the recipient knows and loves your brand prior to the big unboxing moment.

Industry sources estimate that about 90% of products sent to influencers ultimately go unused. On top of this, these gift boxes are rarely environmentally friendly with many products shipped being single-use items and packaged in intricate ways. This practice runs counter to the expectations of consumers who are looking for brands to do more to offset their environmental impact.

So, before we ever stack up PR boxes for our clients and head to the post office, we do our homework to make it more likely that targeted media and influencers will share with their audiences. As a recently-minted assistant account executive at SPM, I’m at the front and back end of PR mailer campaigns and I’ve seen what works firsthand. Here’s my checklist that I apply before a post-office run:

  1. Make sure the recipient of the package knows the delivery is coming (especially if the item is perishable). Unwanted or uncoordinated media mailers can be exponentially more inconvenient to media or influencers.
  2. Samples are a great entry point. Rather than an elaborate mailer or big box with a full product line, think about shipping samples first to give influencers and reporters an opportunity to be introduced to your brand and provide feedback. It’s a great way to build a relationship that can lead to larger partnership opportunities in the future.
  3. Ensure the recipient of your PR mailer aligns with your brand. A lot of the backlash brands received from the video was tied to the influencer not knowing anything about the brand. Before sending your products, be sure the end user at least has some familiarity with your product.

PR mailers are a good way to get your brand/product in front of people, but to do this you need to be strategic and focus on the quality of your connection to the media and potential influencer partners rather than the quantity of people who receive your PR box.