So 12 PR People Get Stuck in an Elevator ...

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What do you call a dozen high-level PR people and one journalist trapped in an elevator in the basement of the Harvard Club?

A good start?


The punch-line possibilities may be endless, but the scenario was all too real Wednesday night when the Arthur W. Page Society's New York networking dinner was nearly derailed by an unusual sort of crisis. One of elevators transporting some members of the Page society -- an organization of high-level corporate communicators -- and their guests from their pre-dinner cocktails to the main event decided that rather than going up it would drop into the cellar. Following the thudding landing, it became clear the doors wouldn't be opening, leaving a who's who of PR -- Richard Edelman, Dartmouth University's Paul Argenti , Page Society Senior Counsel Roger Bolton -- stuck to grow dewy and perhaps a bit anxious. After a few minutes of desperately random button pushing, the alarm was pulled. After perhaps too much time passed, the voices of some Harvard Club maintenance staffers could be heard.

"Hold on," one said. "Stand away from the door," said another.

During the slightly sweaty 20 minutes, it took for the doors to be opened, there were the requisite waggish jokes about it being a good thing PRWeek or Jack O'Dwyer wasn't in attendance. Indeed. Tim Andree, North American CEO of Dentsu and the event's sponsor, tried to put his former-basketball player's height to good use by pushing fruitlessly on the elevator's ceiling.

It being a lift packed with seasoned communicators used to navigating out of tight squeezes, there was nothing one would describe as a freakout, a hissy fit or a claustrophobic breakdown. No one even tried to declare the episode "off the record." Some sipped the vestiges of their cocktails. Others tapped aimlessly on cellphones and Blackberries rendered useless.

Still others wondered aloud whether the combined girth of the baker's dozen of well-kempt professionals actually exceeded the weight capacity of the elevator's 3,500 pounds. (It likely did, said a less-than-surprised Harvard Club employee, as the weary band filed through the pried-open doors.)

Perhaps Mr. Edelman, head of the eponymous firm and author of the 6am blog, framed the moment best for our current 24/7 news reality when he asked this reporter, "Who's going to blog this first? And what will we say?"

Well, here's your answer.
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