Bi-Weekly WTF :: Vol 21 – PR Packages

In the last edition of Bi-Weekly WTF, I alluded to PR being a factor in beauty manufacturer budgets.

In short, it is common for these brands to invest in and distributing extravagant PR packages to send to social media influencers.

That’s a topic in and of itself.


Sending product to sway influential entities is far from a new practice – for Marketing in general, or for the beauty industry. Nay; it simply used to be that all of the beauty magazine editors got all of these fabulous freebies. You know, opposed to flooding a 20 year old with a large Instagram following with PR packages.

Evolution of PR Packages

In recent years, this practice evolved beyond simply mailing out freebies. Elaborate packaging and special, limited-run bundles made. Some even include electronics (like digital displays). Manufacturing is more cost-effective in higher volumes; so if they only have 1,000 of Thing X made to send out as a freebie, it can be (and definitely IS) more expensive.

Why should you care? The money that goes into that nonsense is in those companies’ overhead – which means it is passed onto you through the cost of their products.

Others involve gifts that have not a damn thing to do with the product. There are tales of kitchen and household appliances. Why, Beauty Brand X, are you shipping blenders?


On top of the cost, there’s a fairly significant waste aspect here.

  • Waste of resources (i.e., fuel) to ship them.
  • Waste of packaging (boxes, padding, etc).

Then, subsequently, the recipients of these things have to spend their own time and money disposing of these things. Sure, the exterior cardboard boxes may be able to be recycled. But of the more elaborate interior packaging, especially things that contain electronics, it just isn’t that simple.

Compound all that by the fact that brands are currently favoring quantity over quality, and these people are being inundated with packages. Products they aren’t interested in. Can’t or won’t use. Why?!

Leave it to the Professionals

As someone closer to the industry, I think Samantha Ravndahl does a far better job of discussing this than I will – and she did so in this video.

What are your thoughts on the current state of PR packages sent by the beauty industry to influencers?