It’s Time We Gave Bad Pitches a New Name: ‘MULGE’


This is a guest post by Ed Zitron, EZ-PR founder, Inc. columnist and author of This Is How You Pitch.

Every industry has its own specific terminology and neologisms. The PR industry has done fairly well at creating a few – “pitching,” “source-filing” and more – but we don’t have many of our own straight-up words.

TV producers, bloggers and reporters regularly receive 400-word blasted emails that don’t actually say much of actually other than how good a given client is. As I’ve established in the past, it’s my belief that this is what everyday PR pitches are like. At no point should anyone in our industry pretend that this is not what goes out every day from most agencies, whether the messages come from an Account Executive or a Director.

Mail-merging aside, unread and unlovable email blobs unfortunately remain standard practice.

Business is booming for PR, but based on these pitches (and I have done exactly zero scientific research) it seems that we promote many clients by simply hoping that someone finds a story amidst the sludge. The good news is that we can turn it around by starting to make fun of it. Yes, I am the first person to say “we should attack this process,” but I do believe we need to start mocking these bad pitches. It’s the only way that people will learn.

So let’s give it a name…something gross-sounding and weird. I’m going with “mulge,” from the comic by Ryan Pequin.

Coined by Phillip Broughton, scientist and creator of incredibly powerful coffee, it’s got just the right amount of onomatopoeia to work. “Mulge” is the name for that bottom-of-the-barrel multi-paragraph buzzword-laden hell-mail that lands in thousands of inboxes across many industries. The practice is certainly most common in the tech world, where the content is rendered meaningless by its many implied meanings. In short, Mulge is the primary reason that journalists want us to stop emailing them.

I like the word because it sounds similar to things like “bulge” and “kludge” and “gulch.” It sounds sticky, ugly, and monstrous — like something you might want to clean out of your drain-pipes.

In this case, the drain-pipe is the reporter’s inbox and our overlong, mass-mailed pitches are the “mulge.”

Even if industry doesn’t adopt the word, my request still stands: please be more careful when generating mulge.