Opera BrowserLet me tell you, those PR folks at Opera know how to set up a publicity stunt.

In a “dramatic” update to the saga, Opera’s CEO won’t finish swimming to America after all, as his PR manager’s raft deflated an hour into the day’s swim.

Some choice quotes:

“As much as I don’t want to talk behind a colleague’s back, there is no doubt that we would never have let Eskil assist Jon in the raft had we known he can neither swim nor read maps,” says an embarrassed Tor Odland, Opera’s Communications Director. “I feel partly responsible for letting Jon down, as he cannot possibly continue without the raft.” [emphasis added]

A local farmer spotted the drama from his kitchen window and took surprisingly sharp photos with a remarkably powerful telescopic lens.

“And my mother [in Iceland] will be so disappointed when I call and tell her that I won’t be stopping by for hot chocolate after all.”

The tongue-in-cheek tone of the whole thing is right up there with the Opera Bork Edition that translated the MSN website into the Swedish Chef’s unique form of gibberish. That was to point out the ridiculousness of MSN singling out visitors using Opera and sending them a broken—or perhaps we should say borken—page.

It’s kind of funny how Opera can get away with stunts like this. Microsoft or Apple would be embarrassed to even consider it, and Mozilla wouldn’t dare. These days Mozilla/Firefox is too busy fighting uphill for respect. They wouldn’t risk sanctioning the “Always use Protection” poster, and they wouldn’t try something this wacky. Whatever happened to the days when the IE team deposited a big blue “e” on Netscape’s front lawn?

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