What kind of PR stunt should your brand pull next?
It’s planning season… have you considered including a PR stunt in your activity for next year? Need some inspiration? Here are some examples from the past few years of 6 different kinds of PR stunts.
From flash mobs to Richard Branson crossing the English Channel in an amphibious vehicle, good PR can do amazing things.
The ice bucket challenge exploded onto Facebook back in July and August raising millions for the ALS Association. The clever stunt saw donations leap from $1.7m between 29 July and 17 August last year to $13.3m over the same period this year. Similar to the ‘No Make Up Selfie’ phenomenon, which saw millions raised for Cancer Research UK earlier this year, the ice bucket challenge campaign combined a nomination mechanism with a simple request and striking resulting visual. This was a winning formula and both campaigns spread like wildfire. The social element of these campaigns was key to their success. The approach is one we will no doubt see replicated by numerous other causes, possibly even to similar levels of success.
Many PR stunts have an element of humor or surprise to them. Most memorable, in my eyes, is the ‘Paddy Power Gatecrash’. Back in February 2014, two impersonators of the band Daft Punk fooled everybodylong enough to get onto the red carpet at the Brit awards. After which they ripped off their trousers to reveal bright green Paddy Power pants to the assembledpaparazzi. It got thousands of hits on social media and fans loved their daring and opportunism!
We all know British Airways was head sponsor of the London Eye. During a press conference, to the embarrassment of all involved, the London Eye team were unable to lift the wheel into place. Richard Branson immediately spotted a PR opportunity and leapt into action dispatching a blimp to fly over the wheel displaying the witty, double-entendre-laden line “BA can’tget it up”.
Felix Baumgartner is well known for performing highly dangerous stunts. Possibly his most dangerous stunt to date was one that was engineered by drinks company Red Bull. The brand had viewers glued to their TVs and laptops for a lengthy 150 minutes as they watched the stunt performed for the first time, live for all the world to see. The heavily branded video of his descent took the Internet by storm, quickly going viral. Whilst by no means a cheap stunt it was certainly an effective one in terms of both brand awareness and positioning – thankfully Red Bull did indeed give Baumgartner wings!
In another very expensive, but effective PR stunt an Australian beerbrand, ‘Castlemaine XXXX’ leased a 15-acre island off the coast of Australia. They named it XXXX Island and turned it into the ultimate destination for ‘mates trips’. Treading the politically correct line , it got plenty of media coverage and publicity, significantly increasing brand recognition.
Possibly my favourite PR stunt, ‘Tropicana’s Bright Idea’ certainly made a media splash. In an extreme bid to brighten Londoners’ day, they installed a large sun over Trafalgar Square one dreary morning in January. Over the course of a day they handed out over 35,000 orange juice cartons, providing commuters and tourists alike with branded sunglasses and blankets to sit and watch the sunrise with. In addition to sparking a lot of media interest, this stunt succeeded in creating authentic good feeling toward the brand whilst keeping their product front of mind.
Whether you have thousands to spend or none at all, it’s always worth thinking of ways you can grab your consumers’ attention and encourage them to make positive brand associations! Whilst not all brands or businesses have the millions required to deliver some of the more ambitious stunts we’ve described, there are always ways of creating a media splash on a modest scale. The team here are always happy to offer creative ideas for PR stunts to suit your brand and budget, however modest. Just get in touch.