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06/22/2005 Archived Entry: "Spinning, Spinning, Spinning..."

I’m home today, mending from a pretty severe case of sinusitis – by the way, any leads on a new nose (incl. various accoutrements) would be greatly appreciated.

Perhaps you saw the news item yesterday coming out of New York – about Snapple (the beverage company) setting the record for the world’s largest goopy mess. Made me think of you PR folks out there, toiling in the bubbling asphalt; spinning, spinning, spinning.

If you missed it, Snapple was actually making a go at the world’s record for the largest ice pop – a record set in 1997 by Jan Van Den Berg, a self-proclaimed “ice-pro” in the Netherlands. Apparently, the all-important elements of weather and timing conspired against the stunt – it was 82 degrees Fahrenheit in the Happy Apple on Tuesday, and the truck bearing the frosty opus of opportunity ran late; stuck in morning NYC tunnel traffic, no doubt.

Had the event gone off as planned, the thing would have towered about 30 feet over the gawkers, instead it sloshed out onto the street causing one woman to slip and fall and a team of cyclists to tumble into the gutter. New York’s Finest (the Fire Department) had to draw out the hoses and wash the gloopy goopy goo into the sewer where I’m certain New York’s infamous (the rats) enjoyed a feast of kiwi strawberry slosh.

Eww.

I’ll be darned if this event didn’t draw out an anecdote. Soon after World War II, RCA Records announced that it had developed the first "unbreakable" phonograph record. Until that time, they were made of clay and were very fragile. The new RCA platter was made from durable vinyl, which was a relatively new petro-industrial material.

A publicity executive conjured up a stunt to demonstrate the invulnerability of the new disk from the top of the RCA building in downtown New York. The date was set and the press and public showed up in droves. At the designated time, the president of RCA dropped the old clay record by its edge and it zipped straight down to the pavement, disintegrating on contact.

Then came time to show off the new super-platter; the executive dropped it in the same manner as its predecessor and, to everybody's astonishment, it too shattered like an old dinner plate. Facing public impalement or worse, the panicked flack redirected the stunned president to drop another vinyl record, "... but as if you were going to set it on a record player," he whispered. The change in aerodynamics caused the record to drift down to the waiting crowd where it bounced off the pavement intact. The agency, so I am told, was none other than Art In Industry, Inc, predecessor to the venerable Ruder-Finn.

Weelllll… I’ll bet there are a few executives who are doing some serious spinning right about now – trying desperately to put a brave face on a miserable flop. Or was it?

Snapple’s press announcement can be found here; the first reporting of the event here; ah… and what the heck, yet another example of CNN swiping from another outlet here.

That’s all for now. Pray that my nose heals.-HP

Replies: 18 comments

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