Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Eat with your Eyes: Scotchmallow Heart
I will eat See’s Scotchmallow in any shape or size. Witness See’s Valentine’s version.
The construction of the See’s Scotchmallow Heart is actually upside down from the piece (but consistent with the Egg): marshmallow then caramel then covered in chocolate. It’s tougher to eat in layers than the piece. I usually nibble the sides off of the piece, then pull the chocolate lid off, pull the marshmallow off of the caramel and eat it separately. Messy? Sure. Tasty? Definitely. In this version though it’s less about the dark chocolate and more about the chewy textures of marshmallow and caramel. I also think the marshmallow is less fluffy from being smashed down by the caramel.
I thought it was a pretty good deal at $1.40 for a one ounce heart but I still prefer the pieces.
UPDATE 9:20 AM: About 45 minutes after I posted this I got an email offering me $30 to post a version of some provided text with a link to See’s. (The text was generic, about how a Ses’s gift would be great for Valentine’s day.) Please note that I have never taken money for any of my posts and I actually bought all of the See’s candies I’ve posted about on Candy Blog (well, someone might have given me some of it as a gift and there are the free samples in the store). Please note that this is the second time that I have been offered this sum of money in exchange for posting a generic item about See’s with an SEO building link.
The first time was in November, before the new FTC full-disclosure rules for bloggers. The email came from a gmail address but after some prodding I found out that the woman who refused to actually name the company she worked for but some digging revealed that she worked for a company that does search engine optimization with social media. Today’s email was formatted similarly, came from a different person, but also via a generic gmail address. (I saw a half a dozen of these posts on other blogs, an example of one is posted here with identifying info blanked out.)
So if you see some rather generic looking posts about See’s in the next few days (the deadline to post for this premium of a whopping $30 is Friday, February 12, 2010) you might want to ask the blogger. The offer specifically admonishes do not disclose this is a paid post. Again, this is now against the FTC rules governing paid posts by bloggers which says that bloggers must disclose.
But also note that these emails did not come directly from See’s nor did any of them say that they were employed to do this by See’s.
The sad thing is that See’s does not need to do this to buoy their reputation. A better option would be to offer samples to bloggers and allow them to voice their own opinions and disclose how they came about the candy. Right now I just don’t know what to do. I love their candy, but I detest this road they’re going down.
UPDATE 2/11/2010: After posting this I wrote to the one contact I had at See’s and explained the situation, naming names as I knew them. Last night I heard from one of the principals of the agency where the offer originated. He disavowed any knowledge of the campaign and apologized. He was very sincere and fully recognized that this rogue activity was not within any guidelines or boundaries of acceptability (or probably even effectiveness). At this time I consider the matter closed. I still have a bad taste in my mouth about See’s PR practices, but it hasn’t influenced my feelings about the products.
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