TBT | Any Press is Good Press?

Cover for Any Press is Good Press

Now that T.O.F.U. #11 has been released, I’m about to head into a round or two of sending out press releases and other promotional things to try and get some attention for the magazine’s newest issue.

By this point, it’s a familiar process, and I’ve got a decent list of folks that I’ve been using and fine-tuning issue after issue. However, when I first started doing this, things didn’t run quite as smoothly.

With that in mind, I thought a good throwback for this Thursday would be to talk a little about how a vegan magazine from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada ended up getting a rather sarcastic review in the nation’s free monthly music magazine, and just why I still love the review despite it’s overall tone.

Why Not?

Speaking of press, I’ve told the origin story of the magazine plenty of times in other avenues, so I’m not going to go into those details. However, I will at least mention that T.O.F.U. was born out of the work I was doing through my music label, Tumbleweed Entertainment. So, when it came time to release the first issue of the magazine, I went through the usual routine that I had developed for bands and shows over my years working with TW.

Rest assured, I didn’t think Exclaim was the best avenue to promote a vegan magazine (especially one that was kind of aggressive on its opinions at the time, but what young vegan isn’t?), but I was running with the same attitude that I ran the label with. Ultimately, it was that attitude that also led to the magazine even being born, so when I thought about sending a promo copy to Exclaim, the next thought was basically:

Why wouldn’t I do that?

So, since we were dealing with a physical magazine at the time, I did up a package and shipped it off to the Big Smoke (Toronto) with very little expectations.

You Say It Like It’s a Bad Thing

To say I was surprised when I came across the familiar cover of the first issue in the pages of the monthly was probably an understatement since I had heard nothing from Exclaim after I sent the package, and I certainly had had very little interaction with them beforehand in a press sense.

Of course, after reading the review, my next reaction (as far as I can remember) was one of amusement. It was obvious that the reviewer didn’t care for the magazine or its content, and the musical leaning of the publication shone through when he mentioned that the only good parts were the interviews with vegan band members from Propagandhi and Immaculate Machine, but I couldn’t help but smile at the one little quote I knew I would use for future promo:

T.O.F.U. reads like the straight-edge little sister of Vice…

Again, although I knew it was meant more as an insult than a compliment, as someone who identified as straight-edge and knew Vice was a hip magazine, that simple line sounded pretty great in my books. Thus, I dropped that quote in plenty of places when promoting the magazine, and I continue to mention it at different times to this day.

Did the review help or hinder T.O.F.U. overall? I’m honestly not sure, but I do know that the fact that we even ended up in Exclaim after I had released numerous albums from bands without even a nod from the publication led to me feeling like just maybe T.O.F.U. was something special.

Now, ten or so years later, I’m still fighting to get attention in both the mainstream and vegan media, but I’m happy to say that the attention I do tend to get now is good. Well, unless you count the times when I talk about Lush, PETA, or other such things, but we’re not going to get into that now…

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