Over six months ago I received the following email:

I just wanted to touch base because I thought you might be interested to feature a new cafe we are opening up at the top of Brunswick St near the commission flats called ‘Stencil’. We believe it’s going to become a Fitzroy institution with it themed around street art and also featuring a menu that’s just as funky as the art that we’re going to be showcasing on the wall.

Every now and then we’ll also have DJ’s spinning tunes, making it a place for Fitzroyalty to come and chill.

It’s going to be massive for the area so it would be great for you write something on your blog about it! We’ll be able to sort you out with a free coffee card or something similar for your trouble.

I declined the offer of free goods and published a story about the cafe but it has not opened. What’s happened? Has the success of Slowpoke, which opened just before Stencil began their PR, made them reconsider? In hindsight, the Stencil spin sounds sad and hollow.

Slowpoke didn’t need spin to get started. They’ve earned their good reputation through providing service, not spin. Now another business appears soon to open in this building…

argos all PR and no action

all PR and no action

26 thoughts on “all PR and no action

  • 8 January 2012 at 11:00 pm
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    Thank you for the update – this shop has been empty for ages and is a nice spot, I hope the new place does well. Glad to see something is happening at last.

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  • 19 January 2012 at 10:05 pm
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    H Guys,

    Just wanted to let all our fans know that Stencil will be opening on that block in round 3 weeks! We’re as excited as you all are!

    Cheers
    Phil and Christine

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    • 20 January 2012 at 8:38 am
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      They’re rather different in public than in private. I had already politely declined the offer of free coffee by email, but they evidently didn’t understand that I don’t accept freebies. This is what I was emailed by these people yesterday:

      Hi Brian,

      I just was emailed your article about Stencil ‘All PR’. I didn’t know you were in the habit of publishing personal emails, oh well you can say goodbye to your free coffee. Check out Slowpoke if you want, they’re never open anyway.

      Stencils for your information will be opening soon and we are in negotiations with Melbourne’s hippest artists. The reason why it’s be taking a bit longer is because Stencils at night will be taking more of a sporting theme. You can PR that if you want, either way you are not getting that coffee now.

      Regards

      Phil and Christine

      Stencil Cafe Team

      Reply
      • 21 January 2012 at 11:04 pm
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        Ouch! No free coffee for you. Opportunity forgone.

        What a loss.

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        • 22 January 2012 at 1:08 pm
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          Lols. I do not have what I do not want…

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  • 20 January 2012 at 9:27 am
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    Hi Guys,

    I just wanted to let all our fans know that our words were taken out of context.

    Cheers
    Phil and Christine

    Reply
    • 20 January 2012 at 2:06 pm
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      Fans? No one knows who you are. You haven’t opened and become ‘a Fitzroy institution’ yet. How can you be taken out of context when the context is obvious and explained?

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      • 20 January 2012 at 2:13 pm
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        Hi,

        There are plenty of street artists talking about us and plenty of people looking forward to our ‘Street Treats’!

        And we said it WILL BE an institution, but the reality is we are on the way there.

        Thanks again, but lose the hate.

        Phil and Christine

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        • 20 January 2012 at 3:47 pm
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          You don’t get to decide whether your business becomes an ‘institution’ – your customers do.

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          • 20 January 2012 at 4:32 pm
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            Geez, if this is about the free coffee it’s just a coffee! If it means so much to you I’ll give you one!!

            We’ll be opening the third week of Feb, but I’m sure you already know that.

            Thanks
            Stencil cafe team

          • 20 January 2012 at 7:22 pm
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            How many time do I have to tell you I DON’T ACCEPT FREEBIES? You win the amusingly stupid person of the week award.

  • 20 January 2012 at 2:09 pm
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    I would also like to add that we have not had to re-consider. Within a few weeks we will be moving to a spot on the same block, we also have some of Melbourne’s hottest and hippest artists literally cueing up to get their stuff on the walls.

    And with the menus themed around street art like ‘Reka Ribs’ ‘Perks Pizza’ ‘Banksy bacon burgers’ and ‘Shepard Fairey Bread’ it’s no wonder.

    Thanks again guys and glad to clear up any confusion here,

    Phil and Christine
    Stencil cafe team

    Reply
    • 23 January 2012 at 8:01 pm
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      “And with the menus themed around street art like ‘Reka Ribs’ ‘Perks Pizza’ ‘Banksy bacon burgers’ and ‘Shepard Fairey Bread’ it’s no wonder.”

      This sounds like worst thing.

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  • 20 January 2012 at 8:58 pm
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    Why are you so pro Slowpoke? Feels a bit like free coffee for comment. Hmmmm.

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    • 20 January 2012 at 9:29 pm
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      Sigh. I don’t take freebies in exchange for good reviews. I like the fact that Slowpoke opened quietly with some good social media development and have earned a good reputation through delivering a service. I don’t like arrogant hype from people who talk themselves up before doing anything.

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    • 22 January 2012 at 1:17 pm
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      Interesting observation. Surely any comment for freebies such as coffee should be declared.

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      • 22 January 2012 at 1:35 pm
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        Yes it should. And I have repeatedly refused your offers of free coffee in exchange for publicity. I have not received free coffee from Slowpoke or any other cafe. I’ve been there 2 or 3 times, enjoyed the coffee, and read many other positive reviews.

        My broader interest is in how small businesses operate in Fitzroy and the economics, politics and aesthetics associated with this. It is an area where many small businesses fail within their first year because they either have no business plan or their plan is unrealistic and unachievavble.

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        • 24 January 2012 at 3:54 pm
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          Um… am I the only person who assumed Tom F was joking?

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          • 24 January 2012 at 4:21 pm
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            It was hard to tell, and I’m still not sure. I suspect astroturfing with this comment.

  • 24 January 2012 at 12:27 am
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    Slowpoke is “never open” because they’re currently on Summer break. Everyone who’s a regular at Slowpoke would know that.

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    • 24 January 2012 at 12:36 am
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      As is half of Melbourne at the moment. It’s entirely unremarkable.

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  • 25 January 2012 at 12:40 pm
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    A prime example of “How not to open a cafe”.
    Phil and Christine, Don’t talk yourself up as the best thing since sliced bread before you’ve even opened, don’t make outrageous claims and don’t insult people who would have been more than happy to try your product and comment on it without bribery.
    Arrogant attitudes such as yours tend to come back and bite you in the arse later on.

    I’d also like to point out that Brian’s blog has excellent SEO and a search for “Stencil Cafe Melbourne” on Google brings up several articles of his about you, none of them flattering due to your actions.

    Reply
  • 30 January 2012 at 3:48 pm
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    Gosh, how rude “Phil and Christine” are!! Those dish names are atrocious, almost to the point that I wonder if it is an elaborate trolling exercise.

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  • 13 February 2012 at 4:30 pm
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    Is this place open yet?

    Reply

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