Leave it to flacks to figure out how to fuck up a perfectly good PR stunt. Hell, it's not even just a good PR stunt that got fucked up; it's one of the world's best PR stunts: Time's Person of the Year.
But we've been made away of some horrible chicanery that threatens to corrupt this heretofore pristine newsstand-sales gimmick:
NEW YORK, NY, Dec. 3 /PRNewswire/ - Sportsbook.com, the world's largest online sportsbook, has been forced to halt wagering on Time Magazine's Person of the Year and Sports Illustrated's Sportsperson of the Year due to suspicious betting activity. Upon further investigation by Sportsbook.com, the first and only sportsbook to offer odds on the annual designations, it appears employees of a public relations agency linked to Time Warner have used inside information to place the maximum allowable bet on this year's winners.
On the afternoon of Friday, December 2, a number of suspicious wagers, originating primarily from New York and New Jersey, were posted on Mother Nature to be named Time Magazine's Person of the Year for 2005. These wagers have been traced back to e-mail addresses of a New York-based PR agency that lists Time Warner as one of its clients.
Of course, on further reflection, we'd be surprised if anyone other than Time editor Jim Kelly and his top staffers yet knows who's going to be POY. (Hell, Jim may well not have decided yet.) And even if others on the Time staff do know, we doubt they've told the magazine's very competent in-house PR people, let alone some outside agency.
But, that said, this is still a historic moment for flacks. Now they're even being insulted by gamblers.