Given the scope and breadth of work involved in PR, it’s possible to find yourself doing some pretty unexpected things. Often, they’re things I never envisaged myself doing when I decided on PR as a career.
A few Friday nights ago for example, I found myself sprinting a torturous 3km from one end of Manly Beach to the other in five minutes flat, with 30 nippers, 40 parents, 20 fluoro-painted surfers and Aussie ocean swimming legend Susie Maroney in tow.
Why? To make a live cross for a prime time, national current affairs TV show.
There had been a slight location miscommunication so it was run like the wind or lose the great opportunity we had.
We made it in the end. Although we lost half the cronies along the way – poor little nippers lay gasping for breath at different stages along Manly Beach, with concerned parents (who had only agreed to take part so their kids could wave hello to gran and pops somewhere else across Australia on TV that night) administering Ventolin.
Crazy as it was, this is not the weirdest situation I’ve found myself in.
I once found myself teaching dance moves to a group of professional dancers dressed as dinosaurs on the lawn of Parliament House – in front of the Canberra press gallery.
It was highly embarrassing needless to say, but was as an essential practice session for a PR stunt that was about to take place for the waiting media throng.
At least the media were razzed out of their cynical seats when a couple of life-sized, roaring dinosaurs came at them from behind the trees. Thankfully I was able to skulk away into complete obscurity while they scrambled in fear, revelling in the fact that no-one really ever remembers the faceless PR girl.
On another occasion, while living and working in London, I found myself at the beck and call of a very famous supermodel, let’s call her “Claudia McPherson”. It was yet another surreal and completely batty situation where I again questioned how the hell I ended up there. It was belittling to say the least. I had to carry her bags, get her coffee, source her specific shade of nail colour, and find her equally high-profile model mate to make sure they were sitting together at a certain London Fashion Week Show (another story in itself).
There is more, but I won’t go on. The instances where I’ve worked on publicising the national Pet Slimmer of the Year (a previously obese dog), travelled the state with a jewel-thief author, and stripped down to my bare essentials for an amateur lingerie shoot. Those tales can wait for another blog post.
That’s the reality that when you sign up to work this industry; you may be asked to some of the most seemingly boring things you’ve ever done and you’re also sure to end up in some completely bizarre (and immensely fun) situations.