As a public relations professional, I have heard many interesting stories over the years about press conferences going horribly wrong. From product demos not working properly to botched interviews to breaking news events across town forcing all of the gathered press to unexpectedly pack up and leave… I have heard a lot of nightmare tales of the best laid PR plans going awry. But never had I heard of the star of a press conference being killed at his very own event… until now.
Last week, a small zoo in eastern Germany held a press conference to introduce the world to its newest attraction, a 17-day-old rare bunny named Til who was born with a genetic defect of having no ears. The cute, earless and shy Til was hiding in some hay on the floor waiting for his big moment while the media in the room was setting up its cameras and getting ready to meet Til. That’s when the big moment came… While setting up his equipment, a TV cameraman took a step backwards and stepped on the tiny Til… killing him instantly, abruptly ending the press conference and making cute, earless bunnies even rarer.
The shocked director of the zoo later explained that Til “did not suffer” as the crushing misstep was a direct hit and that the cameraman was “distraught” over the accident. What a bummer press conference. As a PR practitioner, you never want years of therapy to follow your press conferences. Instead, hopefully everybody makes it out the other side alive with some good resulting press coverage as long as it’s not an obituary.
To add insult to injury, zoo officials have reportedly frozen Til’s body until they decide whether or not to have him stuffed. Suddenly, I am feeling pretty good about my next press conference.