Aussie Firm Kills Oprah’s Staff in a Press Release

November 14, 2007

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Earlier this week the Australian firm Markson Sparks caught a bit of flak for macabre humor in a press release on behalf of recruiting company PKL. The release explained the perils of being of a personal assistant, quipping that 45 of Oprah’s staffers have died from anthrax attacks. Apparently the joke was lifted directly from a blog.

This isn’t the first time this year a press release with a death hook was used. See BlinnPR’s now classic Anna Nicole tie-in from February. This one looked to be more of a mishap. Markson is a big Aussie firm with a lot of celebrity clients, and a thriving speakers bureau division. They can dish and move on. Read more about anthrax in the news in O’Dwyers.

We contacted agency head Rolene Markson to find out more:

Hi jason, thank you for contacting me. The story has a very innocent beginning. A junior publicist with all good intentions, armed with information supplied by a client wrote a media release, followed protocols and had the media release authorised by the client and then distributed the release. Her mistake was in how she communicated the last paragraph of the release where she meant to make fun of what was obviously a ridiculous statement. She is very upset about the whole incident naturally and I am absolutely mortified but to try and look on the bright side if there is one, once in every publicist’s career you make a mistake, and I guess she has made hers.

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