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Failing to negotiate the road ahead can get you on national TV !

Ericsson and Islandssimi held a press tour in Reykjavik, Iceland, and the theme was chess. Yes, chess! Did you know there are more chess grandmasters per capita there than any other country in the world? Me neither, but apparently true and this was the theme behind the press tour;chess@iceland Top of the World Challenge. The tour itself was to show off the newly installed Ericcson switch that was central to the operations of new data/telco/ISP entrant Islandssimi. Not all press tours have to be boring and many companies make a mistake thinking its news is so great it is going to appeal to everyone. However, can chess ever be called fun?

The US side of Ericsson drummed up Garry Kasparov, Grandmaster and former World Chess Champion – regarded by many as the greatest chess player of all time. In Rejkjavik a speed chess tournament was laid on where the world's current no2 at the time, Anand, also played. If you have never seen one, all the fun is in the first 30 seconds as either side play rapid opening moves, then suddenly it stops with one of the opponents staring with hand on chin and studying the board. It's quite bizarre. It is one the strangest “sporting” events I have witnessed.

Well that was only part of the 'fun'. The next day we headed up to the Eiríksjökull glacier where 12 invited guests were asked to compete against Kasparov...at the same time...on seats and tables carved out of the glacial ice!

However, on the way one of the 4x4 cars left the road, unintentionally at this

time, when it negotiated, or more correctly, failed to negotiate a corner. It

slowly rolled over. This particular 4x4 held the journalists I had invited. After

rescuing everyone and making sure they were all okay, there was a quick

discussion and we continued with the other cars - this time with a planned off

road excursion.

What can be perceived as a negative incident can actually be turned into a
more

positive one. For Islandssimi it was the chance to get national coverage on the

national TV news, basically as a more humour item under the heading of

“International journalists make the news rather than reporting it”. Otherwise only

known within their sphere of market, the journalists were suddenly thrust into

Icelandic family homes via domestic TV news. The journalists loved the attention

and Islandssimi got valuable national coverage for free.

As for the 12 v 1 chess match on the glacier, I seem to remember it was
1 draw and 11 victories to Kasparov. Have to admit, I wasn't paying close attention, as a blizzard was sweeping in and standing on the sidelines I was above the cut-out tables and chairs. With a glacier underfoot, I can tell you it was damn cold.


Afterwards, we got great coverage for the event, but the things us poor PRs have to do to get it...mind you the journalists in this case may have endured worse. Sorry guys, but thanks for the coverage and an interesting time!




​​​​C(R)ASHING IN ON THE NEWS

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