Category Archives: PR stunts

Seven massive PR stunts

Does making something massive make it newsworthy? Well, we’ve all been guilty of  throwing in the odd wild suggestion during an uninspired brainstorm to make something the ‘biggest, best or most expensive’. But, in some cases, maybe biggest really can be best. Here’s a collection of some my favorite ‘big’ PR stunts – there’s more out there than you could ever imagine…

The biggest slipper? Ok, so the tale with this one is that this guy ordered this slipper from China, and in a moment of buffoonery got the decimal point in the wrong place. Anyway, the retailer didn’t think to question it and this is what he ended up with (size 1,450 if you’re interested). But as it turns out he actually works for a company called ‘Monster Slippers’. Nice stunt.

The biggest present? Harrods used over 600 metres of paper to gift wrap a helicopter. Impressive huh? Apparently, the chopper was sent to a Harrods customer as a gift to take his partner on a trip of a lifetime.

The biggest toy? Actually, the biggest toy box, filled with a right hand drive Hummer H3, launching in the UK for the first time with this nifty stunt with Toys R Us. Still a stupid car though…

The biggest shopping trolley? Hmmmm, starting to get a bit bored with these big stunts now.  Sainsbury’s celebrate selling their 1,000,000th Red Nose by…you’ve guessed it, filling a giant trolley with Red Noses!

The biggest deck chair? Pimms celebrate a start (and imminent end) of a British summer by bringing a giant deck chair to Bournemouth beach (that’s the English equivalent of Bondi, geography fans)

The biggest logo? This is pretty cool; KFC became the world’s first brand visible from outer space  by unveiling an 87,500 square ft,  logo in the Area 51 desert. Actually, I once did a stunt like this for Yorkshire Tourist Board, so I’d argue I got there first.

The biggest sofa? Homebase placed a triple-sized sofa in Victoria Station, London to celebrate triple Nectar points. This looks way bigger than triple size if you ask me. Unless they’re tiny people, which is common in sofa ads.  

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Flashmob!

So I see the old ‘flashmob’ idea has been trotted out again, this time for St Patrick’s Day at Sydney Central Station, courtesy of Tourism Ireland. It featured  the cast of Riverdance – in town at the time – spontaneously launching into one of Michael Flatley’s finest.

But as old-hat as a flashmob is, if it’s well executed and timely like this one, I must admit it’s still hugely entertaining, and has real ‘stop and stare’ value. What’s important here is talkability, and it delivers this in spades, providing it’s about the brand, of course. Here it is in it’s glory:

The real authority on flashmobs is a New York collective called Improv Everywhere. They’re a ‘prank collective’ who aim to cause scenes of “chaos” and “joy” in  public places. Of course, they’ve got the advantage of not always being tethered to a brand, but this is inspiring, creative stuff. Here’s three of my favourites.

Frozen Grand Central Station

 

No Pants!

 

The Worst Ice Skater ever

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Mad Men Does PR

So the fourth series of Mad Men began last night. Exciting stuff, especially for people like me who work in an agency environment, who end up inevitability comparing the way things were done then, with the way things are done now (in essence, generally less smoking, drinking and womanising).

So, let’s not focus on Don’s womanising, Betty’s new husband or Pete’s continued smarminess. What I found interesting about last night’s episode was that it featured Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce’s first foray into PR stunts, albeit a brief one.

It went a bit like this. An ad campaign for a baked ham manufacturer prior to Thanksgiving fell flat. So…when advertising failed, they turned to PR. Peggy conjured up a very clever stunt where two ‘actresses’ pretended to fight over the last ham in a store. The fight gets out of hand, and bang, the New York Times runs a lead on it with the headline “Hams that are worth fighting over’. Brilliant. Except it didn’t quite go to plan as the two actresses take each other to court over the fight.

Is this a lesson about what happens when ad companies think they can do PR? Don’t get me started…

Image used under Creative Commons, courtesy of ozjimbob

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When guerrilla goes wrong – or is it right?

I read with amusement that ITV has suspended Robbie Earl over his ‘naivety’ for selling his allowance of World Cup tickets to a third party. Even more interesting is what that third party – Dutch brewery Bavaria NV – allegedly did with the tickets.

During the Holland v Denmark game at Soccer City, it became clear as hoards of female fans wearing skimpy orange outfits, which were originally sold with packs of the beer prior to the tournament, appeared in the stands. Despite the outfits containing no branding (but that does look like an augmented reality graphic), Fifa proceeded to chuck them out as it only allows its official partners to use the World Cup for advertising and promotion campaigns – and Bavaria NV is not one of them. It also threatening the brewery with legal action.

The brewery denies the charge, of course. But, the sheer volume of column inches that have  appeared referencing the beer since the incident (I’d never even heard of them before this) have been significant and valuable, which makes me think that this was no happy accident. It’s certainly a high risk strategy, especially when a behemoth like Fifa is involved,  but I applaud the agency that persuaded the brand to something as subversive as this. Perhaps they even tipped ITV off about Robbie Earl to penetrate the UK media…now that would be clever.

Image courtesy of gnews pics used under Creative Commons

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PR stunts – the real election battle

The past few weeks have been hectic week in PR land as agencies think up increasingly absurd ways to crowbar their clients into the news, using election-themed hooks. As all PRs know, leveraging a calendar event – whether it’s Easter, Mother’s Day, Christmas, or whatever, can be a great way to get positive media coverage for a client. But, it can be a thankless task as journalists get pitched to hundreds of times with similar stories (anyone tried an April Fool’s story recently?) and any idea needs to be really creative, and not at all contrived in order to achieve standout.

Here’s a few stunts that have caught my eye in the last few days.

Pizza Express – the General Election Pizza

It’s a great idea, with some great coverage too, and it links brilliantly with the brand’s key messages. I love the choice of toppings which reflect the big issues of the campaign. So this includes caviar, representing the debate about class and equal opportunities, and dough balls for the national deficit. But, there doesn’t seem to be much online support for this on their website.

Ikea – kitchen desgns for would-be PMs

Again, a clever idea, well executed, Ikea has created the BRUN, KAMERUN and KLEGGI kitchens, matched to the personality traits of the leader. So the BRUN is “durable and prudent for the economically conscious”. The supporting website is also top drawer.

Common people

Not a PR story per se but worth a mention, this brilliant Tory-slating video has now gone viral. Partly due to the fact that it’s extremely funny.

Hallmark Daddy Dance Off

And finally, Hallmark’s efforts. In the interests of disclosure, this is one of my clients, but here’s a glimpse into what the leaders might have got up to in the green room before Thursday’s Leaders Debate!

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Cockney cash machines

You can tell it’s silly season, but you’ve still got to love this story – cash machines in East London are being ‘trialled’ to give out cash with the options in cockney rhyming slang. I’d like to see Yorkshire Bank create their own next – now that would be funny.

Probably a good idea Barclays didn’t do this (geddit?)

 

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