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Snakes On A Plane Provides Motherf*cking Awkward Marketing Opportunity

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New Line Cinema’s predestined cult classic Snakes On A Plane opens today, and you know what that means: Time to issue that press release for your product or service to coincide with the release of Snakes On A Plane, nevermind that your product or service has absolutely nothing to do with Snakes On A Plane.

Take this, a press release for Assist America, provider of global emergency assistance services:

The passengers aboard the serpent-laden flight in New Line Cinema’s film seem to face unusually insurmountable odds. Joe DiCorpo, Chief Medical Consultant for Princeton, New Jersey-based Assist America, the nation’s largest provider of global emergency services through group benefit programs, says the situation would be tough. “If a plane landed in the U.S. with multiple people who had been envenomated by different species of snakes, it would present some real challenges for emergency responders. Each snake would have to be identified by physical description. Then correct doses of antivenin specific to each snake would have to be located and administered in a hospital setting,” he explains. Since most antivenin is derived from horse serum, it can cause a severe anaphylactic reaction, which means it can only safely be administered in a controlled, well-equipped hospital environment. “The victims would be triaged at the airport and then moved to area hospitals for care, including possible localized or systemic treatment with antivenin,” DiCorpo adds. “It’s impossible to predict their survival rates because each case would be different. At very least, if a situation like this happened in the U.S. or Europe, the response would be swift and comprehensive; in other locations, there are no guarantees.”

The full, snake-shit insane release:

Triage for “Snakes On A Plane” from Assist America
Global Emergency Services Company Discusses Travel Challenges, Need for Preparation

Princeton, N.J. — (August 18, 2006) — “You know all those security scenarios we ran? Well I’m smack in the middle of one we didn’t think of.” — Nelville Flynn, of New Line Cinema’s Snakes On A Plane

Nelville, of course, is referring to the countless slithering menaces let loose by an assassin aboard a commercial jetliner in the studio’s over-the-top latest release. An unexpected security scenario, no doubt. But when we travel, how often do we run into security or health scenarios we didn’t expect? The answer may surprise you. According to GeoSentinel, a travel medicine provider with clinic locations on six continents, each year up to 8 percent of the more than 50 million business and pleasure travelers to developing regions (4 million people) become ill enough to seek health care either while abroad or upon returning home. And travelers to destinations closer to the beaten path often have their own health and security emergencies—equally as difficult to manage—like unexpected illnesses, legal troubles, terrorism threats or military acts (Lebanon evacuation, anyone?), along with their associated transportation disruptions.

The passengers aboard the serpent-laden flight in New Line Cinema’s film seem to face unusually insurmountable odds. Joe DiCorpo, Chief Medical Consultant for Princeton, New Jersey-based Assist America, the nation’s largest provider of global emergency services through group benefit programs, says the situation would be tough. “If a plane landed in the U.S. with multiple people who had been envenomated by different species of snakes, it would present some real challenges for emergency responders. Each snake would have to be identified by physical description. Then correct doses of antivenin specific to each snake would have to be located and administered in a hospital setting,” he explains. Since most antivenin is derived from horse serum, it can cause a severe anaphylactic reaction, which means it can only safely be administered in a controlled, well-equipped hospital environment. “The victims would be triaged at the airport and then moved to area hospitals for care, including possible localized or systemic treatment with antivenin,” DiCorpo adds. “It’s impossible to predict their survival rates because each case would be different. At very least, if a situation like this happened in the U.S. or Europe, the response would be swift and comprehensive; in other locations, there are no guarantees.”

While the premise of the movie is extraordinary, the truth is that reality can be equally as bizarre. Assist America’s case files include innumerable stranger-than-fiction travel emergency scenarios. There was the story of an exchange student working in a remote area of Honduras who fell from a high cliff into the ocean, shattering her leg and five fingers. After twisting her leg loosely back into position, she swam more than a mile to an inhabited beach, with her research notes taped to her head. She was taken to a nearby hospital that treated her exclusively with sleeping pills. “It wasn’t until she called our operations center that she got any normal level of care,” says Kip Gibbs, Assist America’s Director of Operations. “We evacuated her to a better hospital and after some surgeries she recovered well. When she was discharged, she went back to finish her research.”

Then there was the case of a family on a “safari” boat ride in Mexico, who were invited at the end of the trip to swim in a fresh-water pool filled with crocodiles. The tour operator had advertised that “swimming with the dolphins is boring boring boring” and assured everyone that the crocodiles were friendly. (An asterisked disclaimer stated the operator was “not responsible for any damages.”) “We got a call that the family’s ten year old daughter had been bitten and dragged beneath the water by a particularly large croc,” says Gibbs. “The father, mother and several passengers had to jump in the water and wrestle the animal’s jaws open to retrieve the child. We could hardly believe what we were hearing.” Assist America arranged for the girl to be taken to a reputable hospital to treat the damage to her legs and lower torso. She survived.

Though crocodile — and alligator-related emergencies have recurred in the company’s case files, snake bites haven’t been as prevalently reported. In fact, Assist America reports that in 15 years of servicing millions of global travelers, they have only handled one snake bite, and in that instance the snake was the least interesting part of the story: a man traveling in a remote village of Vietnam was bitten by a highly poisonous snake and had to be transported to the local hospital … by elephant. “We couldn’t possibly make up these kinds of emergencies and problems,” says Gibbs, “we’re just here to solve them.”

If only Nelville Flynn had known.

More information about global travel emergency services can be found at www.assistamerica.com.

Founded in 1990, Assist America, Inc. is the world’s largest provider of global emergency assistance in partnership with insurance benefit plans. Its worldwide network of professionals responds quickly to any eligible participant who becomes medically compromised while traveling more than 100 miles from home. From simple doctor referrals to complex intercontinental evacuations and more, Assist America saves lives every day. The company, headquartered in Princeton, New Jersey, serves more than 22 million members and over 250,000 enterprises through benefit programs from the country’s most prominent insurance providers.

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