Put yourself in the shoes of the poor agents (and, by default,
media relations) guys at Beyond Music Publicity in LA when the first
anthrax outbreak occurred.
Your client has had a low profile for years, but the imminent phone
calls don't make you think, "Goody-goody, lots of lovely press
opportunities!" Instead, you're planning to deal with media inquiries
about what is suddenly the most tastelessly titled rock 'n' roll band of
all time. Suddenly, your client is yanked from semi-obscurity and thrust
into the midst of a PR nightmare.
The client in question is, of course, Anthrax, the '80s heavy metal band
that was the purveyor of such head-banger classics as The Threat is
And it gets worse. As you busily field calls from the press, the band
decides to post a statement on its website, joking about changing its
name to the less scary-sounding Basketful of Puppies.
So now, you find yourself inundated with calls from people wanting to
know whether the band is going to change its 20-year-old moniker. The
Washington Post, Wired, Rolling Stone, CNN, and Reuters all give ink to
the rusty metallers.
Meanwhile, the group's website (www.anthrax.com) has been flooded with
traffic from a panic-stricken public seeking information about the
devastating disease. It has seen so much traffic that Bayer has
apparently approached the group about putting up a Cipro banner ad on
the home page.
So now, Anthrax has taken it upon itself to link to sites including the
Centers for Disease Control and other sites that display daily news on
the anthrax outbreaks.
As the story escalates, you stop accepting phone inquiries from the
press about the band and its name. Eventually, the story blows over and
you give a sigh of relief, at least until "Operation Enduring Metal,"
the co-headlining tour between Anthrax and Judas Priest, kicks off in
Watch this space, folks ...