Anatomy of a Press Kit
Usually, when Mayor Willie Brown attends a public relations event that hawks a product, the selling is subtle; the mayor's obeisance to whatever well-connected business his handlers have deemed worthy of his sponsorship is metaphorical, indirect. But in a rare achievement, Schieffelin & Somerset Co., a national liquor distributor, recently persuaded our mayor to, literally, assume the kneeling position.
Rarer still, the moment was captured on film.
The result is a PR masterpiece, a press kit that contains an amazing series of photographs and associated verbal fluff. The kit was created on behalf of Schieffelin & Somerset, the sole North American importer for Moët & Chandon champagne, which accounts for nearly half the bubbly sold in the United States. The kit's public relations message centers around an ersatz group -- the "Club des Sabreurs" -- whose numbers supposedly include such celebrities as Julia Child and George Hamilton, and whose members all must have mastered the task of uncorking a bottle of champagne with a ... saber.
On May 6, Mayor Brown was "inducted" into le Club during a "ceremony" at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Because the event did not receive the press play it deserved, and because we were sure the mayor would want his constituents to know of this honor, here is an annotated guide to the creation of the Sabreur of San Francisco, Willie Brown.