What does your company do on its days off? If you’re OutsidePR, a weekend off is the perfect opportunity to engage in a little trash-talking with clients (notably GU in this case), as well as throwing down the race gauntlet to all comers during the March 27 Oakland (California) Running Festival. If Berkeley, Calif.-based GU, maker of sports energy gels and drinks, had any fantasies of post-race glory, Team OutsidePR, based in San Francisco, quashed those dreams not only by winning the mixed relay category, but also by doing so in record-setting fashion with an overall time of 3:06:37.
Now in its second year, the Oakland Running Festival attracted over 7,000 runners to compete in one of the weekend's five races: marathon, half-marathon, 4-person team relay, 5K, and kids' fun run. Sunday morning’s marathon started and finished near Frank Ogawa Plaza, weaving through the climbing hills and straight-aways of the Temescal, Rockridge, Montclair, Fruitvale, downtown Oakland, West Oakland and Lake Merritt areas.
Team OutsidePR consisted of agency owner Gordon Wright, account manager Devon Sibole, account executive Scott Surface, and account coordinator Sam Shepard.
With Wright leading off for the first 6-mile leg, Team OutsidePR positioned itself as an early frontrunner among 163 relay teams – 84 in the mixed relay division. Wright, who had to leave immediately after his leg to coach rugby, would neither confirm nor deny the rumor that company bonuses for the year were contingent upon team performance in his absence.
Official OutsidePR Team mom, Kelly Blake, told SNEWS® that she was “booted from my leg for the faster, younger intern (Ed note: oh the indignity!), but I was thrilled when I got the call with cheers and excitement of a win.”
We have also been told by our inside sources that account manager Sibole blew by Team GU on a downhill part of her leg – not usually recommended in most manuals on maintaining strong client/agency relations. At this point, we have to assume GU will be looking into rewriting the agency contract to include clauses prohibiting trash talk from account managers following race beat-downs.
To make matters worse, "The team sent me texts with race status updates,” Wright told us. He then added, in true rugby fashion, “I really appreciated the post-race drunk dial with hiccupping voices that stumbled through Queen's ‘We are the Champions!’”
Given that bit of information, it would not be unreasonable to think that GU is considering writing clauses into its contract with OutsidePR that prohibit any singing of Queen following a race, or any texting of race updates about how OutsidePR is crushing the competition…while racing.
Of course, ever the PR firm, Team OutsidePR celebrated its win by taking the podium with the mayor of Oakland, Jean Quan, while wearing Pearl Izumi shoes, a Hydrapack pack, Road ID bracelets, Ryders Eyewear -- and holding up GU packets for the official winner’s photo (see photo, above). Nice recovery!