The brief: Lead global marketing and PR for the world’s first telesurgery as surgeons in NYC remove the gall bladder of a patient in an operating room in Strasbourg, France.
The project spanned more than a year and a half and included a host of partners and vendors who were all eager to be recognized for the achievement; France Telecom, AT&T, several academic institutions and even DARPA played a role. Managing partner expectations became as challenging as creating and executing the PR campaign.
Months of negotiations resulted in embargoed news exclusives for several partners: NBC Nightly News, Dateline, The Today Show, Time magazine, USA Today, and others. The surgery was performed successfully on Sept. 7, 2001, and all press events were to be preceded by a live global press conference scheduled for the morning of September 13, 2001 and originating from the Sheraton New York Times Square hotel. The events of 9/11 meant the cancellation of all public events, however the package did go on to air on several outlets, and was selected a year later by CNN as the medical story of the year.