Yesterday we brought to your attention the kind offer of employment by PR company Pulse Communications for promoting Fancy Feast cat food. The managing director Samantha Allen reassured Crikey that the comment for cat food offer directed at “freelance writers”, not the high profile food reviewers and editors emailed, was in the “normal writers rate” for such work.

To Allen we ask then, what this email exchange means:

From: Nourse, Pat
Sent: Wednesday, 13 May 2009 4:46 PM
To: Treble, Lucy
Subject: RE: Good Food and Wine Show — blogging opportunity

What do you pay, Lucy?

From: Treble, Lucy
Sent: Thursday, 14 May 2009 9:48 AM
To: Nourse, Pat
Subject: RE: Good Food and Wine Show — blogging opportunity

Hi Pat,

This is the first time we’ve targeted a high-profile food critic to be part of a campaign so we’re still trying to determine an appropriate amount of payment. We have set aside approximately $2,000 for your involvement however I have a few queries regarding your charge out rates.

Firstly, at what rate do you charge for articles, i.e. do you normally charge per word or article type? And secondly, in regards to the media interviews we are hoping to conduct, we can arrange a price per interview, if you were happy with this arrangement.

Provided you have a cat would you please provide me with feedback on the above?

I look forward to hearing from you,


“Normal writer’s rate”, you say? $2000 for 500 words plus interview fees?

The Sydney Morning Herald‘s chief reviewer Simon Thomsen responded, with some canine humour:

From: Simon Thomsen
Date: 13 May 2009 4:59:21 PM
To: “Treble, Lucy”
Subject: Re: Good Food and Wine Show — blogging opportunity

Dear Lucy

The only reason I’d have a cat is for diversity in a dog’s diet, so I’m afraid I can’t help.



Meanwhile, in Crikey comments, Allen continues to dig:

Samantha Allen
Posted Thursday, 14 May 2009 at 5:33 pm

I would like to clarify that Pulse categorically does not pay bloggers to write. The reference to the word blog in our email was incorrect and has caused confusion. Rather, we were looking to commission a freelance food writer, who is a cat owner, to write some light hearted copy for the brand’s website (not a blog).

The published copy would state that the article had been commissioned. Unfortunately, the mistake we made was that it wasn’t freelance food writers who received our email. Let me apologise again for the error and to those who received it.

In relation to the “Confessions of Love” quote, they are in no way related to the commissioned article that we were seeking.

Crikey tried to contact Allen, but she did not return our calls before deadline.

Peter Fray

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Editor-in-chief of Crikey