EDITORIAL: Damp squib for river revellers

What on earth happened to the legendary British reserve at the end of the 20th century? Even the media seemed to be swept up by an intoxicating tide of hyperbole and promotional overkill that left a nasty taste in the mouth come the cold light of dawn.

What on earth happened to the legendary British reserve at the end

of the 20th century? Even the media seemed to be swept up by an

intoxicating tide of hyperbole and promotional overkill that left a

nasty taste in the mouth come the cold light of dawn.



So just where did the rhetoric end and reality begin on new year’s

eve?



For frustrated revellers on route to the Dome, the glitz began to pale

as they queued. But when it comes to the River of Fire the answer is a

little more subjective. The New Millennium Experience Company continues

to be upbeat about the whole experience, saying that the spectacle was

never intended, as the media claimed, to be a sheer ’wall’ of fire

(although this term was used in its own on-line press release), and that

the public had simply got the wrong preconception of the event. In fact,

those close to the scene of the action described the ’wall’ as more of a

’picket fence’.



All this might sound like a dose of millennium hair splitting - but the

responsibility for management of these perceptions and expectations lay

firmly with the organisers.



One of the cardinal rules of public relations is not to

over-promise.



The same principle applies to a new product launch and distribution as

it does to the unveiling of the Millennium Dome and its associated

attractions.



It is a shame that, considering the affability of the media towards what

was undeniably a night to remember, that it is the over-promotion that

has provided the lasting media commentary.



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