Thursday, September 07, 2006

The BeBe Experience

I’m working on something that reminded me of the media tour I did with Benjamin Netanyahu otherwise known as BeBe 6 years ago, almost to the date. What an experience.

We were promoting Israeli technology companies, and I had 23 appointments scheduled for Netanyahu. We had appointments with everyone from trade rags to the president of CNN. In the middle of the tour, Netanyahu gets cleared of embezzlement charges and is now eligible to run for Prime Minister.

He cancels all of his appointments except a few select meetings. In each case the reporter was under strict rules not to interview him about his aspirations for future politics. What was negotiated and what happened were two different things. We ended up having a Mossad officer physically separating a reporter from BeBe (there should be a blog on stupid reporter blunders). Mind you this reporter was working for a national newspaper based in NY. That was crazy.

Just one of many crazy things. Another incident during that tour, guy in a dark suit comes up to the trade show booth and says, “I’m looking for Benjamin Netanyahu.”

“OK. Who are you,” I asked.

“I’m with the FBI.”

“Sure you are, prove it.”

The guy shows me a gun. “My name is xx, I work with the FBI.”

About this time I’m freaking out. “Uhh, I’m sure you do, can I see some ID, just to verify it.”

Though I said that, really I’m just hoping that I don’t get killed or anything like that. Keep in mind I’m 28 years old at the time, and have never been in any kind of situation like this before.

He shows me the ID, and it seems legit (like I know anything). So, of course, we just go and meet Netanyahu at the back of convention center. And there's no security waiting for him (minus one FBI guy with a gun and a bewildered young flack) although he definitely had a couple of Mossad officers with him. Obviously, pre 9-11 era.

There are more stories, many more. I was blown out by that trip, and just ran the events in my mind over and over for days. I didn’t practice PR for a few years after that, focusing on advertising and learning how to sell. Really, what more could I do after that?

Now that I’ve been practicing again, I realize there are new summits to reach, mostly to help people and friends succeed. Interesting that five months into my own company’s existence I find myself in a similar situation again. Didn’t take long.


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