Opera Software CEO saves the day for PR

So few buddy movies have been made about the special bond that exists between a CEO and his PR manager.

So few buddy movies have been made about the special bond that exists between a CEO and his PR manager.

But all that could change thanks to Eskil Sivertsen, the most delightfully incorrigible corporate communications guy in all of Norway.

Opera Software, a small Norwegian technology group, unveiled the latest edition of its web browser last month. In a bid to excite his staff, CEO Jon von Tetzchner said he would swim from Norway to the US if a million people downloaded the browser in its first four days.

The announcement wasn't meant for public consumption, but Sivertsen "couldn't resist." Without telling his boss, he issued the pledge in a press release just before the weekend.

Because it's been a slow news century in Norway, the story spread fast, and the download goal was reached quickly. So by last Monday, the very non-athletic Tetzchner was on his way to the States in the "balmy" Oslo waters (48 degrees F). Right by his side was his quirky PR pal Sivertsen, rowing an inflatable raft packed with food, water, maps, and a book of inspirational quotes.

Unfortunately, barely an hour after the journey began, in the sort of sweetly ironic plot twist normally reserved for a straight-to-video Olsen twins' movie, the PR man's raft sprung a leak. With the tables turned, the CEO was forced to rescue his employee - whom it turns out can't swim.

Sensing his opportunity to go out on a high note, Tetzchner declared the journey fin'.

"Both the raft and the PR manager were accidents waiting to happen," he quipped. "It is just too bad they had to happen at the same time."

Silver Anvil, or a Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Award? You be the judge.

  • Douglas Quenqua writes PR Play of the Week. He is PRWeek's news editor.

    Ratings:

    1. Clueless

    2. Ill-advised

    3. On the right track

    4. Savvy

    5. Ingenious

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