I guess that everyone like me who has been in PR for a long, long while has had some triumphs as well as some disasters.

The triumphs are shouted from the skies, while the disasters are buried.

Well, I’m prepared to come out and tell you about my greatest ever disaster.

Forget about the press conferences that four TV crews were going to cover, only to be called away by a factory fire on the way to us, or the time I staged a big press conference in London on the same day that President Kennedy got assassinated.

They all pale into insignificance.

No, there is one that stands out and it started in the most innocent way.

My client was the big Australian builder AV Jennings and the brief from the Managing Director was that one of their top divisional managers was going to undertake an advanced Harvard MBA course.

“That will silence those critics who think we are a bunch of builders who run around with nail bags around out waists,” he growled.

“We are serious business managers and the sooner people realise that the better off we will be”, he said, with his gaze clearly focussed on the investor market.

Well, it seemed like a good story to me as well so I interviewed the divisional manager who was going to the US with his family for six weeks to do the course.

The story had a great run on the finance pages and clearly got people thinking that AV Jennings was a serious management company, not just a bunch of nail bag carrying builders.

I went to see the divisional manager when he returned six weeks later as I thought there could be a follow up story on what the course had covered, and only then did I learn of what had happened during his absence.

No one had thought that burglars read newspapers too, and when the divisional manager and his family returned home they had had visitors while they were away.

Not only had the contents of drawers been stolen, but also the furniture that goes with them, plus the carpets and the curtains. The house was bare. After all, the burglars had a unique opportunity as they knew the family would be away for six weeks.

I was shocked and sufficiently traumatised and although I know the name of that divisional manager, at no time in this blog have I mentioned his name, where he lives or when he will be taking his holidays.

I’ve told mine so for all our PR and media blog followers, come clean and tell us your greatest disaster?

-Dennis Rutzou