PR gifts gone wrong: Swag bag forces Quartz to evacuate office

A very unintended consequence of sending "unsolicited stuff."

Photo credit: Getty Images

That’s one way to get a journalist’s attention.

A metal briefcase, which turned out to be nothing more than PR swag, caused digital media outlet Quartz to evacuate its New York office on Monday morning after it was thought to be a suspicious package.

"PR people, please stop shipping unrequested things like this," Dave Gershgorn, the publication's artificial intelligence reporter, tweeted about the incident, adding that Quartz’s New York office was briefly evacuated due to the package.

UPDATE: On Monday afternoon, Gershgorn clarified that the package was sent to a Quartz staffer by a PR firm, but was "waiting to be donated" when it was mistaken for being suspicious.

A source familiar with the matter told PRWeek that the swag was sent to a reporter who wanted to donate the box. She left it for another staffer without a note. At this point, a staffer saw the unmarked briefcase, thought it looked suspicious, and then reported it. 

Quartz deputy technology editor Mike Murphy retweeted Gershgorn, adding that he, too, dislikes when PR people send "unsolicited stuff."

It was not immediately clear what was in the swag bag, or what PR firm or marketing department sent the package.

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