Friday, January 25, 2008

The Book!

Over the past 2 years I've blagged all sorts, but there's been so many tidbits and anecdotes I've been unable to say on the site. Realising that one day they may be useful for other blaggers in the making I popped them all in a diary and over the past few weeks have been slowly writing it up in the hope of spilling all on the blagging process, how I got started and the strange obsessions that come with the territory. So far I've got about 50 pages, and no publisher but that's no reason not to give something away for free to you, my loyal readers. So I'll be posting early chapters from the book absolutely free to give you more insight, if you enjoy it all I ask is you forward it to a friend, leave a comment or drop me an email on mike@blagman.co.uk.

Enjoy!

Prologue
They say 21st Birthdays are a chance to step in to adulthood, a chance to experience new things and to see what the world really has to offer. But do things really change? We still try the same products, we still visit the same stores and the only thing that seems to change is our ability to consume alcohol through a funnel. So what if we saw each Birthday as a chance to try something new, to open ourselves up for just one day to the other products and experiences around us? That’s what I decided to do just before I hit the big 21, although being a broke student I knew I’d have to improvise.

I knew I’d have to Blag, and that’s how this whole thing started….

Chapter 1: Live for free, what a dream that would be
For those uninitiated in to the world of ‘Blagging’ allow me to give you a quick crash course. First coined as a term to describe the way celebrities can get anything from a new pair of Gucci shoes right down to a necklace for their dog Fru-Fru it means getting something for nothing. Naturally this comes easy for our celebrity-status friends as any product they’re given for free usually ends up on the pages of Heat or Dog Owners weekly, meaning instant exposure for the brand. Although this doesn’t always work as HP found out when they gave P Diddy a diamond encrusted Apple iPod. Whilst the diamonds spelt out HP it was ultimately Apple who went on to benefit and HP’s own brand MP3 player is just an oft memory in some marketing room.
Diamond encrusted iPods are just one example of the over the top products that have made their way in to the hands of celebrities. At the Oscars in 2006 each attendee was given a goodie bag worth an estimated $100,000 including: A Portable DVD Player, silk kimono, espresso machine, a trip to Hawaii (worth $25,000), and even a Diamond Encrusted Digital Camera. Gotta love the diamonds.

As for me the first thing I ever got for free was a video game which was sent to me for an old gaming website. At the time I thought it was fantastic, a £40 game right on my doorstep and all I’d have to do was write 1000 words to keep it. Brilliant! Whilst I’m sure the review was only read by about 12 people the PR company seemed to love it and over the years I managed to accumulate a fair share of games from other companies too.

This got me thinking, what if I could get more than just games for free? If I set up a food website would I ever have to pay to eat again? Would a toiletries website mean even toilet paper would be something I could get for free? And what about everything else, what if there were no limits, what if I could find a way to get absolutely anything for free?

But lets take a step back for a second for a quick reality check, I’m no celebrity, I’m just your average Joe student with no celebrity status or journalistic experience. What possible reason could companies have for giving me products for free? I’m not going to make their products world famous overnight and I’m certainly not going to be appearing on the front cover of Heat any time soon so why would they even bother? Why possibly give perfectly good products to a complete stranger when you have absolutely nothing to gain in return?

It’s something I pondered about for a while, in fact I pondered about it so much it would have given even Pinky and the Brain a serious headache if they even attempted this level of pondering. The more I thought about it the more I just kept coming back to the same point, if I can’t become a celebrity overnight then I’d simply make one. Surely it wouldn’t take more than a few words to invent one, a new caped consumerist, someone citizens could look to for information on anything from reviews of toiletries to toys, food to fashion… someone called Blagman. And on that faithful day Blagman donned his suit for the first time, an average Joe on the scrounge for free stuff. Little did I know the evil I would face along the way….

Go to Chapter 2

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Every product on this site has been received for free, and given to me by the product manufacturer or their associated PR organisation in return for a review.

I have no other personal or business association with these companies, and all reviews are written truthfully and based on my own experience. If I hate a product I will say so (and have done on many occasions!).