What happened was, Johnson & Johnson and their PR firm, in an effort to "connect" with what is becoming an increasingly powerful demographic, MOMS WHO BLOG, decided to host a 3-day "getaway" for moms, culminating, naturally, in a field trip to J&J headquarters for a product expo. The hope is that the blogger attendants will return home and write (hopefully glowingly) on their blogs about the J&J products they saw, and how well they were treated by the giant corporation. They invited 50 "influential bloggers" on this junket, and shockingly enough, Yours Truly was one of those 50. I'm still trying to figure out quite how "influential" I am, but I registered for the trip based on a few key factors:
1. FREE. The trip is FREE. As in, all expenses paid, including airfaire, car service to and from the airport on both ends (though I excused them from sending a car for me here at home), great hotel accomodations, meals, a wine-tasting hosted by Ted Allen (fangirl squeeeee!), lots of pampering activities, a Wii-party and fine dining at The Frog and The Peach, etc. Yes, apparently, I can be bought--although I have to give props to our sponsors at J&J for making it clear right up front that: a.) We are not obligated in any way to write about the trip or the product expo, and b.) If we DO write about any of it, they ask that, in the interest of total transparency, we reveal that we were there on THEIR dime. I respect that.
2. The opportunity to visit with scads of my all-time favorite blogger-buddies from all over the continent! And these are just a few of the ones who I know will be there--I'm sure I "know" a heck of a lot more of the 50 attendees, if only online. If I had to guess, I'd say that MOST bloggers who accepted the invitation did so with this motivation high on their list of priorities. That was smart of J&J. I've heard lots of complaints that "the same group of bloggers gets invited to all these corporate-sponsored junkets," but this is the first time for me. It will be interesting to see if my participating in this activity gets me on some kind of PR "list" in the future. I do get PR pitches from time to time, but I'm certainly not inundated by them like some folks say they are.
3. TED ALLEN. 'Nuff said. I'm a dorky, dorky Top Chef/Queer Eye for the Straight Guy fangirl. I'm not ashamed. Much.
In preparation for this trip, in order to educate myself about exactly who was buying my attention, I did some research into the companies owned by Johnson & Johnson, and the products they make. I was ASTOUNDED at the sheer number and variety of things made by J&J or one of their subsidiaries which have directly impacted my and my family's lives. They're not just Band-Aids and Baby Powder. From psychiatric medications that have benefited my bipolar husband to the Interceed fabric that repaired my resectioned colon and protected me from adhesions during a lifesaving surgery in 2000, I've spent enough money with Johnson & Johnson that a plane trip and a few dinners are looking like a nice "Thank-You" note at this point! Check here to see how much influence Johnson & Johnson has in your life--you might be surprised!
I'm looking forward not only to visiting and schmoozing, but also to doing my best at being a representative of wonderful folks like this amazing woman and others.
Cross-posted at my space on The Arkansas Times Blog.