We recognised Shane Warne’s star qualities in early 2006 when we pursued him to be an ambassador for Messages On Hold. After some nine months of negotiations with his brother and manager at the time, Jason Warne, we agreed to a sponsorship package that worked for both of us.
We launched our association at a press conference in Melbourne on October 2006. With every Australian media outlet (and a number of overseas TV crews) assembled, the reporters were eating up the story. Some were distracted by the “ironic” link between Messages On Hold’s recorded promotional messages and Shane’s text messaging. The fact was, we don’t do text messaging, but various media chose to ignore that fact as it would have ruined their “angle”.
Shane “padded away” the stupid and insolent questions and chose, like a true professional, to steer the focus back to the business association. He was a focus machine – I guess that’s what separates the good players from the great ones.
During that same conference, Shane mentioned confidentially to a well-known Channel 9 journalist, that he was separating from Simone. After the press conference, that journalist (who was also a friend of Shane’s) ambushed him, shoving a microphone in his face asking questions about the split. PR whiz, Max Markson, had to jump in and shepherd Shane from the zealous reporter.
Unfortunately that didn’t stop Channel 9 Melbourne from leading off their bulletin with a story about “Shane’s Split”. Interestingly enough, they were the only ones to run with that story. Fortunately for us (and of course, Shane), the launch was a huge success.