Last Call: Client hauls agency over the coals - and they enjoy it

OK, OK we know you all tell your clients you would walk on hot coals for them, but how many of you have actually done it?

Hats off, then, to the exemplary Miller/Shandwick Technologies account team in Boston who recently walked the walk for their client, Articulent, a data storage management service.

Articulent recently held an employee orientation seminar that included some motivational and trust-building activities - to wit walking on a bed of hot coals.

'It doesn't hurt,' said account VP Gail Whitcomb, admirably without faltering.

'It's a good five or six strides and it's extremely hot.'

So to prove their commitment and dedication (not to mention the shameless sucking up skills), the four-person team from Miller/Shandwick asked to participate in this seminar.

Then followed hours of preparation during which the group did some visualization exercises in order to get wound up enough to touch their tootsies to the burning coal.

'You couldn't do it if you didn't go through the preparation,' says Whitcomb.

'There's clapping, there's hugging, there's loud music. You really have to get jazzed up to do it.'

And jazzed up they were. Account supervisor Laura Hindermann was so jazzed up after her fire walk in fact, that she karate-chopped a wooden board in two for good measure.

Unsurprisingly, Whitcomb said her boss, Miller/ Shandwick president Tony Sapienza, and her fellow colleagues think her account team is 'crazy.'

So where did this exercise get them? 'We had a good client relationship already,' Whitcomb says. 'But I think it will be stronger now.'

We've always said PR was a circus, but this is too much.

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