Publicity stunts to inspire the creativity within all

They are either mind blowing, jaw dropping and create wide spread buzz for your client or they an absolute fail – attracting the negative publicity you were crossing your fingers wouldn’t happen or simply attracting no publicity which is equally as disappointing. Publicity stunts are always a make or break.

But that’s what I love about them. The thrill. The challenge. The blue sky thinking. Coming up with a ridiculous idea that may just be a winner.

My colleague Lisa Hollinshead recently shared with me  this fantastic blog post from Taylor Herring pulling together a ‘Publicity Stunt Hall of Fame’ of fantastic ridiculous yet winning ideas.

Tiger Tees Off. In March 2004 Tiger Woods was paid $1 million to play in the Dubai Desert Golf Classic. Organisers staged a media call to launch the tournament in which Woods practiced his tee-shot from the helipad of the Burj Al Arab, the world’s tallest free-standing hotel.

Tour De France. 100 years ago Henri Desgrange came up with the idea of a bike race round France in order to raise the profile of L’Auto, the newspaper he worked for. The first race was a big success. The road conditions were terrible, the riders barely slept and they were expected to ride through the night. But it captured the imagination of the public, doubled the circulation of L’Auto and put its rival paper Le Velo out of business.

BA Can’t get it Up. Virgin Airlines took a swipe at the late-running, British Airways sponsored Millennium Wheel project by flying a blimp over the site – carrying the message ‘BA Can’t Get It Up’.

The Travelodge Nativity. In December 2007, Travelodge announced that all married couples named Mary and Joseph would be offered a free room at one of their hotels. The hotel chain said that husbands and wives who showed an official marriage license would get a night’s stay on the house between Christmas Eve and January 5th 2008, but with more home comforts than the humble stable of the Nativity story.

Asda’s Free Eye Tests For The Swiss. Piggybacking the media frenzy of Euro 2004, British supermarket chain Asda offered free eye tests to Swiss citizens. The stunt responded to a controversial decision of Swiss referee Urs Meier who disallowed a late goal. His ruling terminated England’s future in the tournament.

Cannes Bee Movie launch. At the Cannes Film Festival in 2007, Jerry Seinfeld climbed to the top of the iconic eight storey Carlton Hotel, dressed in a giant bee costume. Thirty minutes later, arms and legs flailing, he zoomed down a 126 meter wire which took him across a four lane road, to the beach pier below where the press pack of international media were assembled. For more Cannes stunts click here.

KFC Face from Space. To celebrate a revamp of their logo – fast food giant KFC created an 87,500 square feet picture of founder, Colonel Sanders.The massive creation is made up of 65,000 one-foot square painted tiles that were laid out in the Nevada desert in a task that took 24 days.

A Lego Inauguration. A week before President Obama’s official inauguration – Legoland in California revealed an impressively detailed model of how the ceremony might look. The display showed Barack Obama and his wife Michelle arriving at the White House by helicopter. There were also more than 1,000 other Lego figures, representing celebrities, officials and other guests. An excellent example of how creative, opportunistic PR can hijack the topical news agenda.

Extreme Scrabble. Scrabble mobilised their fans to celebrate the brand’s 60th anniversary. PR’s at the board game compiled (and presumably staged) various snaps of extreme scrabble play including shots of sky divers who jumped from a plane 13,000ft over Florida to play the word game.

Panda’s In Paris. 1600 papier mâché pandas were put on display in the centre of Paris to increase public awareness about the endangered species. The pandas, installed by members of the WWF, represent each of the remaining 1,600 pandas left in the wild.

So there you go – some inspiring publicity stunts to get the creative juices flowing. If you have any other favourite publicity stunts that come to mind, please share!

Gemma Crowley

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