Clinique’s Strange PR Department

It’s often difficult to break through the press departments at large organizations, especially when you’re a freelancer. One such freelancer, Simon Clarke has detailed his attempt/tribulation when trying to contact Clinique. Clarke makes it sound like a weird setup for a PR group within a company, but there are ways to get around the solid fort they created.
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While working on a story about male grooming for the trade magazine The Grocer, Clarke tried to contact the skin-care line Clinique and had quite the strange experience.

The freelancer writes:

“Go to the media relations page on the Clinique web site and it asks you to register as a member of the press to get access to media contact information. Yes, that’s right, you must register as a member of the press before you can actually bother the super-busy and important media relations team with your media enquiry.”

Clarke went ahead and registered, and then waited, and waited and waited, never hearing back from Clinique. Finally, after the story published, he heard back from the company (soo annoying). But they weren’t ready to help Clarke; instead they wanted to interview him.

It sounds like a weird Twilight Zone episode, but here’s what a Clinique representative wrote back:

Thank you for your recent (sic) application to Clinique’s online press office. It would be great to find out some more information about the publications that you work for. We would just like to get a bit more information as I don’t believe we’ve worked together before.

Clarke chose not to respond, since the story ended already, but talk about an annoying process.

Still, this setup seemed too strange to me, so I looked into contacting Clinique as well, just to see if I could find an actual person. It took me two minutes.

While, the writer is correct, on the Clinique website it’s very difficult to find a PR rep to contact, Clinique is owned by Estee Lauder. And if you go to the parent company’s newsroom, there’s a representative for each brand, including Clinique. So for those reporters needing to contact the company in the future, try Cece Coffin.