Love Bug bites PR industry; chaos, opportunity ensue

BOSTON: Ten days after it paralyzed computer systems across the globe, the Love Bug has already been eulogized as a mixed blessing for PR pros.

BOSTON: Ten days after it paralyzed computer systems across the globe, the Love Bug has already been eulogized as a mixed blessing for PR pros.

BOSTON: Ten days after it paralyzed computer systems across the

globe, the Love Bug has already been eulogized as a mixed blessing for

PR pros.



For some, the virus meant doing without Internet access for several

hours, losing picture files and flooding clients and reporters on e-mail

distribution lists with virus-carrying e-mail. However, the crisis also

gave savvy pros the chance to thrust their clients into the

spotlight.



Among the parties hit hard by the virus were Time Warner and many

big-name PR firms, including Hill & Knowlton, The Horn Group, Kratz &

Jensen, Ogilvy and Text 100.



’One or two employees opened the message, and it was a huge, huge burden

on the organization to clean it up,’ said Shannon Hall, principal and

managing director for The Horn Group. ’The issue for us more than

anything was productivity. Every hour that I don’t have 60 people

working is 60 hours of lost client time.’



Ogilvy chief administrative officer Adam Stebbings said that the firm

got the virus from sibling Alexander Ogilvy, while Baker/Winokur/Ryder

COO Neal Cohen said that his agency received more than its share of

calls from those who received ’ILOVEYOU’ messages from the agency.

However, New York Times Washington correspondent Joel Brinkley said that

he only received four copies of the ’ILOVEYOU’ e-mail and one copy of

the ’joke’ e-mail. ’Everybody that I know here got a few, but nobody got

hundreds,’ said Brinkley.



Miller/Shandwick Technologies capitalized on the virus crisis for client

TechnologyEvaluation, a business-to-business portal for the IT

marketplace that has several analysts on staff. When the virus hit on

Thursday, the firm quickly identified an analyst and began pitching him

to the press. It achieved pick-up from Bloomberg, AOL.com, ABC News and

CNET, as well as newspapers such as The Boston Globe and Boston

Herald.



’If you didn’t jump right on it then, you weren’t getting any coverage,’

said AE Michael Failla.



At The Geek Factory, president Peter Shankman and his staff moved

quickly to get coverage on CNBC for client MI8, an application service

provider to which companies outsource their e-mail. Shankman, however,

was also a victim of the Love Bug: ’I got 47 messages from a client

headquartered in Europe, and my first guess was that it must be a virus,

because I seriously doubt that he loves me that much.’



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