NEW YORK: During the days leading up to Y2K, hundreds of gung-ho PR pros fanned out across the globe, eager to prove just how well-trained they were.
NEW YORK: During the days leading up to Y2K, hundreds of gung-ho PR
pros fanned out across the globe, eager to prove just how well-trained
In the end, however, they had to settle for a quiet evening in front of
the computer, as few problems - and even fewer that required the
know-how of PR professionals - reared their heads.
Attending a black-tie millennium ball, Hill & Knowlton Los Angeles GM
Ron Hartwig had pager and cell phone close at hand. 'I waited all night
for that one beep or bell that would set me off, and I was sort of sad
when it never came,' he said. 'You never want something bad to happen,
but part of you can't wait to get that crisis call.'
For some, ordinary Y2K pressures weren't enough. With 6,000 engineers in
the field, EDS wanted everyone in the world to know how well prepared it
was. 'We invited the media into our war room,' bragged spokesperson Reed
Byrum. Among those who took the company up on its offer were The Wall
Street Journal and CNBC.
Burson-Marsteller, with a global network of 19 Y2K command centers and
five backup sites, also spared no expense. As midnight rolled over into
each time zone, real-time reports on everything from the results of
horse races at the Hong Kong Jockey Club to mock-frantic calls from BBC
personnel who couldn't find any hot water for tea filtered back to the
'We got a chance to share 26 separate New Year's celebrations,' said
Burson's Philip Murphy, who added that many staffers actually
volunteered to work that night.
Not everybody, though, was thrilled with the deja vu quality of the Y2K
'The charm of New Year's Eve wears off after you celebrate it for the
eighth or ninth time in a row,' said GCI manager of firm development
Brandon Borrman, who was dispatched to San Francisco on behalf of client
'One hundred and twenty hours of nothing to report.'