Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, showing off the next big step in technology, augmented-reality glasses.
Being a publicist, I am always suspicious when I read a story about something that happened “by chance.” People like me make “those chances” happen. Do I really believe that one of the richest men in the world, Google co-founder Sergey Brin, was riding the number 3 subway train downtown on Sunday when a stranger spotted him wearing Google’s augmented-reality glasses? Seconds later, the stranger (Noah Zerkin) tweeted the photo of Brin and the post got picked up on every online tech site, newspaper, and entertainment TV show within the next 24 hours.
This is what Noah Zerkin (@noazark) January 21, 2013, said on Twitter. “I just had a brief conversation with the most powerful man in the world. On the downtown 3 train. Nice guy.” Then he posted his photo. Zerkin is an interactive installation consultant who is a self-professed augmented-reality enthusiast who just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Puh-leeze!
For those of you who don’t know about Google’s augmented-reality glasses, it is really worth researching because it is going to be the next big thing in technology. The glasses feature a translucent rectangle (the size of a postage stamp) that transmits data directly into your eye. Swiping motions can be made on the side of the headset to navigate the app interfaces. You can take hands-free photos, videos, and other soon-to-be announced tasks. The glasses are truly mind-boggling. A few years from now we will all be using them. They are slated to go on sale in 2014 for around $1,400. By that time, Google will have figured out some very practical uses for this device.
Meanwhile, I think I am the only one who feels the subway incident was a staged event. I have had my own share of PR “coincidences.” I staged Mohammad Ali to show up at a BSR (USA) sales rep meeting at the Chicago Hilton Tower Suites so he could throw air punches with retail customers. We pretended that he was having dinner downstairs with friends during our meeting. Through some miraculous last minute offer to show him the product line that was being introduced, he agreed to come up to the suite to say hello to the audience. The entire shtick was arranged weeks in advance and cost BSR lots of moola to get the champ to agree to the action-packed photo-op. Some retailers still have their photos displayed on the walls of their offices (or retirement homes).
Or how about the time we accidentally-on-purpose, lost a prototype for a new hand-held game for my electronics client in a New York City taxi cab during Toy Fair. The owners of the company offered a huge cash reward if anyone found and returned the one-of-a-kind mock up. Instantly, the brand became the talk of the entire convention.
I could go on and on about publicity stunts, but then I would be staging my own career death. That’s all for now.