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El Reg gets experimental at Orange launch

Rare case of press refusing free lunch

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This morning El Reg went to see Orange about its new ‘Try’ initiative. (This is the suck-it-and-see approach to mobile services the company is kicking off today.)

To support the launch, the company commissioned research into consumer attitudes to new technology which basically showed that we are all a bunch of lily-livered, scaredy cats when it comes to trying new gizmos. To illustrate this point, assembled hacks would be encouraged to try new things, and would thus experience this neophobia first hand.

The new things for us to try ranged from the sublime (acupressure massage) to the ridiculous (this reporter’s attempts at lining up records were entirely unsuccessful, and let’s just pretend that the juggling balls weren’t there, shall we?).

All fair enough you say? Indeed. But they didn’t stop there. Oh no. They hadn’t finished with us yet. The relationship between journalists and PRs is, as has been documented, a complex one and is not without tension. Imagine the mirth in the Orange PR camp, then, when they were putting together the programme for the launch.

To eat, we were offered grilled fruit kebabs and frogs legs. I also heard rumours of chocolate-covered scorpions. Suffice to say, Orange had ably demonstrated its point that we are not great at embracing the unfamiliar.

But the best was yet to come. Tradition dictates that journalists get a press pack to take away with them when leaving events like this. Sometimes there is even a goody bag. I won’t forget today’s in a hurry…and imagine the conversation when preparing the bags went something like this:

“Right, so we’ve got the press packs, the CDs, the scorpion lollies and the chilli-flavoured mealworms? Great. Let’s go." ®

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