It's not every day that you receive a package that includes a newspaper clipping announcing your death. But an obituary is precisely what I received earlier this month along with a shark's tooth, a keychain that read "Discovery marina. SW09" and a pair of torn, blood covered bathing trunks. The news article read: "Kenneth Hein distinguished editor was killed Monday, July 6th of a Shark Attack at Jones Beach." These contents came enclosed in a crud-covered jar with a rusty lid. A hand-written note directed me to Frenziedwaters.com. The site shows a video of a shark attack and a promise that all would be revealed today (July 20). And it was. The package was part of an extensive, well-financed guerilla stunt for "Shark Week," compliments of the Discovery Channel. I applaud the elaborate effort (notably the jar which was so gnarly looking, someone asked me to throw it out) because journalists gets tons of goofy swag, but very little of it grabs our attention. However, I can't help but wonder if this whole campaign was rooted in the public relations team's deep subconscious. Because I know for damn sure there have been plenty of times PR folks have wished a painful death on those in the journalism field.
—Posted by Kenneth Hein