Feeling Used as a Blogger

all bar one instagram photo frame bloggers

dj decks macbook

monkey whisky cocktails all bar one edinburgh

I’m all for honesty and transparency in my writing, and it’s not often I’ll write something negative on my blog, but an event I attended last night really grated on me. I’ve had the privilege of working with All Bar One before on my blog, and bar a minor service issue, they and their PR agency have been great to work with. Now don’t get me wrong, I feel more than appreciative to have even been invited to events in the first place, and don’t want this to come across in the wrong way, but I feel this needed to be said.

To clarify a few things first, myself and several other blogger friends as part of the Edinburgh network we have here, were invited to an ‘exclusive invite only’ event, a night of cocktails and canapΓ©s, cocktail masterclasses and insider tips. All sounds very fabulous and worth taking the time and effort to go right? Something I’m fairly sure most of us thought was a blogger only event, a chance to catch up with friends and chat to likeminded people. But what was actually the case was a little different. Sure, I got to see my friends, we had a good laugh over a cocktail together, but there was a certain undertone where we, as bloggers, felt totally unwanted there, isolated even, only invited so we would post about it for some free exposure for the brand.

all bar one edinburgh event 2016 may

raspberry and lemon cocktails whisky

blogger photobooth props selfie

It’s a shame because in my photos we are having a great time, we were making the most of seeing each other and having a laugh after a long day at work. These photographs were all taken as we first arrived unaware of what was going on. There were canapΓ©s indeed, but they were swiftly ushered away from us, we were looked down upon, told that they were for the ‘VIP’ guests on the tables over there who had already eaten three times over. Now don’t get me wrong, but if we are all invited to the same so-called VIP event here – aren’t we all equals?

Similarly, we politely asked if we could sit at one of the several tables which were empty, to be told that they had been ‘reserved’; assumedly for someone deemed more important. Which again brings me back to my point about being equals. The table didn’t turn up to the event, and we were once again shunned away for even daring to take a seat. My personal favourite was when we had watched food pass us by so many times being blatantly ignored, that when I asked if we could possibly grab something to eat like the rest of the ‘VIP’ tables. A woman came back with a platter of mini burgers, amazing we thought – finally. For her to ask “are you going to take a picture of these or not?” then walked away and gave them to a table which again, had already been served three times over. Whilst we just watched in dismay and swiftly left to go to McDonalds, it was clear they weren’t interested at all in hosting us, and we were definitely not welcomed there.

I for one put a lot of time and effort into my blog, and I know many others do too, but it felt like we were only invited to be there to provide some free advertising for a brand that quite frankly, has let us down. Have you ever felt used as a blogger?

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Welcome to The Little Things, a Scottish travel and lifestyle blog. Written by Louise, a graphic designer, living and working in Edinburgh. Sharing all of the little things in life which make her smile along the way. With her boyfriend Luke, and their cat Gizzy.

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  • Emily

    This is a great post and I’m so glad someone said it.

    I was so exited for that event but came out of it feeling incredibly let down and annoyed by how we all got treated.

  • Well said, Louise x

  • Excellent post. Brands never think about your effort – the travel cost, time for sorting those images etc and then this! I was at a event a while ago and you couldn’t have been made to feel less wanted.

    Thank you for getting it out there!

  • I’ve never experienced that. I’d say it’s time to part company with that PR agency!

  • WOW! I am shocked. I have had nothing but great service from All Bar One in the past but this sounds awful.

    Bravo for speaking honestly and calling them out on it. Hopefully they will buck up their ideas!

  • Leanne bryson

    Yes it’s partly why I stopped blogging 3 years ago x

  • This is unbelievable. It never happened to me. I would have left, this is so inappropriate for so many reasons.

  • Karlie

    This is shocking Louise, I can’t believe they would do this to bloggers of all people. We’re paid for our freedom of opinion and voice, that’s our difference to something like say I-ON magazine who charge for articles. I’m so sorry you had that experience and hope it hasn’t put you off blogging and working with brands because some brands are awesome x

  • Well done you for having the guts to actually post about this, so many bloggers would be too scared to post something negative which shouldn’t be how blogging works x

  • I love this … It honest and really what we all thought. Its not a good rep for the PR and All Bar One in the end.

  • Wow, that’s really shocking but I’m so glad you had the guts to share this and be honest. Too often bloggers are taken for granted and treated as secondary press or something – it’s gotta be more fair and fun than that.

  • Gosh, I don’t know why you’d try to defend the venue. What happened to you and how you bloggers were treated were all decisions made by the people hosting the event, and not a slight misfortune or poor waitstaff services. People were told that you, bloggers, were less and were instructed to actively reinforce that status. Absolutely rude of them. Hopefully you can work with better businesses in the future.

    Also, “invite-only” with different types of invites? It may as well not even be invite-only.

  • Louise, you’re being very polite about being shunned/used. All bar one gets barred from now on!

  • This is such a good post. I see so many posts about brands but sometimes it’s needed to write about your experiences as a blogger. Inviting bloggers to an event for ‘free advertising’ is all okay if you make the same effort with them as you would with other people connected to that organisation. I couldn’t have put anything better myself and at least you are still being polite to the brand πŸ™‚ xx

  • oh no, how rubbish you had that experience. So cheeky they think that they can get away with it! I’m glad you spoke up about the issue.



  • Wow, this is unbelievable. I can’t sdkfh. Wow. I can’t believe I’m actually reading that something like this happened. That is absolutely rubbish! I agree with Kelsey. I’m so glad you didn’t stay silent and actually spoke up about what happened!