Disclosure: Rust-Oleum will be paying to fly and host me on a trip to New Orleans to test one of their new products. This story is about this first such invitation.
My “real career” is in corporate communications, where I got my start in 1984 working for Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, Michigan. I worked at Ford for 17 years, and for the first 10, I was pretty much focused on publicizing and launching new cars and trucks. As just a few examples: The original Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable… the original Explorer… the Aerostar… the ’94 Mustang… some Escorts in there… the Probe… the new Thunderbird… I’m sure I’m forgetting some biggies. Of course, a pivotal part of new-car and truck launches is: The press trip. You find a location, gather your vehicles and your company experts — and then bring in the journalists. I worked on a lot of these. So now, it amuses me to no end that I will be attending my first press trip, not as organizer/PR person — but as blogger/journalist. My host: Rustoleum.
On Tuesday, I will be heading down to New Orleans, where on Wednesday, Rustoleum will be showcasing their new “Cabinet Transformations” — a DIY kitchen cabinet repainting system — to about 10 design and renovation bloggers. Before I accepted the expense-paid trip, I checked out the product’s website — it is already for sale — to ensure that it would be relevant to Retro Renovation readers. It looks like it is… traditional methods of repainting cabinets, including sanding and priming, can be a real hassle. And even then, chipping is a real problem. So I am very curious to see what they have come up with. Although, assuming the finish provided by the product is a good one, I already can see I would be asking them for a wider selection of retro colors. We also will be looking at Rustoleum’s “Countertop Transformations.” I am less optimistic about this one. It’s a paint system that makes your old countertops look like stone or granite. I don’t think we are their target market for this one. But, I will try and withhold judgment until I see it in the flesh.
In any case… I think that it will be fascinating to experience a press trip “from the other side”. I’m told that the daylong experience will include hands-on work — we will be painting cabinets. For sure, I will like this part the best. Although, I have to admit, I am also looking forward to the launch dinner in New Orleans – there ain’t no better cookin’. Even so, I’m not sure how often I would do these kinds of trips, because they take a lot of time out and airline travel is pretty bitterly exhausting these days… But, I am excited to go this first time, at least.
A few more notes, as I log the novelty of this latest development in my blogging journey: This hasn’t been an issue so far, but I disclose anything free any company gives me. I also disclose affiliate relationships (ebay and Amazon), and I mention when someone’s an advertiser, too. This level of disclosure is an FTC requirement — but even more importantly, it is the right thing to do. I really believe that blogging has the opportunity to beat out all corporatized media forms — because bloggers’ strengths are in the “trust and authenticity” they create. These are things that consumers / readers want more than ever. As a result, I feel very passionate about maintaining trust by always disclosing… and about maintaining my “authentic voice” by working hard not to be swayed by the quest for the almighty dollar.
Finally, I have asked Rustoleum whether the Cabinet Transformations product could be used effectively on vintage steel kitchen cabinets. Their chemists are looking into that one for us. They already have explained the product has a satin, rather than glossy, finish — so some steel cabinet owners may reject it for that reason. But if adhesion proves out, it could be a good option for DIY metal-cabinet owners who don’t want to go to the fuss and expense of auto-body type processes.
Report to come.