May 24

Time travel is so much fun

In anticipation of our firm’s Spring cleaning this Thursday, I started rifling through some old files and deep-sixing unnecessary clutter. As I did, I came across a true relic that presented a mini time portal to another era that, thankfully, is dead and buried.

The artifact was the January 11, 1999 issue of PR Week, which I had held onto because of a page-six article heralding Peppercom’s winning the GE Financial Assurance account (beating Fleishman and Bozell Worldwide in the process. Bozell Worldwide? Where are they now?).

Anyway, as I scanned the entire issue, I came across some real time-period gems, including:

– An editorial presumably penned by then Editor-In-Chief Adam Leyland bemoaning the fact that national business publications had been missing the boat on the huge, upcoming Y2K crisis. He wrote: "The Millennium Bug is not just a technology problem; as much as anything it is a problem of communication. He cited a recent USA Today survey in which 46 percent of respondents expected air traffic control systems to fail. Yet, Leyland said, most airlines were "…adopting little more than a cautiously reactive approach to media inquiries." The text goes on and on to warn about the major business disruptions about to occur and industry’s seeming lack of proactive communications outreach. He felt Y2K was a huge opportunity for the PR industry to shine. In fact, as we now know, Y2K was much ado about nothing and Y2K preparedness was one of the major hoaxes of the late 1990s.

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