My biggest gaffe: fainting on the job

Ruzanna Martirosyan, PR and digital manager at Media Reach, on the staff and media event that went pear-shaped.

Ruzanna Martirosyan: PR and digital manager at Media Reach
Ruzanna Martirosyan: PR and digital manager at Media Reach

Seven years ago, I put together a media event for a highly reputable bank that had sponsored the restoration of a traditional sailing boat and wanted to create buzz around its support of yacht building. High profile guests and about 30 journalists from popular TV stations and press were invited to the launch, all of whom turned up.

I was the only PR person present and I  had arranged, among other things, a big fruit display inside a special media tent. However, my boss had decided to invite the bank’s staff with their families.

We were all civilised people, what could go wrong?

Everything was going well, but while I was hectically running around in 38C° heat to make sure we were getting all the shots and interviews right, the staff picnic failed to materialise. So they started getting their kids to raid the media tent for sustenance.

By the time I entered the tent with the journos to enjoy our well-deserved lunch, the table had been stripped bare.

This is when panic attacked me. The journalists were hungry and getting angry. What’s more, I was so busy and stressed that I’d forgotten to eat that morning and the heat made it worse.

I ran off to arrange emergency food supplies for the hard-working media and on my way I fainted.

And here my triumphant day ended – in total embarrassment – when I awoke with a circle of people staring at me. The same night after the evening news, we got only three positive media pieces out of 30 and, as a finale, I received an hour-long angry call from my boss.

The moral of the story? Never mix staff and media events, even if you think you have everything under control.

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