Long live the PR stunt

Ah, the PR stunt. It’s become a bit of a dirty phrase for (seemingly contrived) knee-jerk reactions by brands, individuals, political parties as they try to appease their audience rather than please.

But the ‘PR Stunt’ need not be a murky term. To prove it, WXY is celebrating some of the most successful stunts and looking at the three key things we can learn from them. Why not close your ASOS window, forget about that email from IT and spend the next three minutes reading about the joy of the stunt.

PR stunts get people talking

This was proved with CALM’s stunt (by Adam&Eve/DBB) which highlighted male suicide through the placement of 84 sculptures on top of the ITV building in London – each representing the 84 male lives taken each week in the UK by suicide.

Project 84 captured the attention of the media and made for a shockingly provocative image that gave additional gravity to a serious issue and embedded itself into the national consciousness. The simplicity of the idea and bold approach encouraged national and international press coverage and generated much-needed conversation. 

If an impact is what your brand needs, at-scale stunts can often provide that much-needed boost.

Let’s get physical

In a world where almost everything is on-screen, PR stunts can offer experiences away from the smartphone and into the great outdoors. Even the good old-fashioned billboard can be turned into an experience. For the release of the Rise of the Tomb Raider, Square Enix turned a billboard in London into a survival game show, pitting real-life contestants against each other, and streamed across the world for viewers to choose ‘the elements’ that each contestant had to endure. The last contestant standing on their plinth won a once in a lifetime world trip. The stunt successfully turned an old marketing medium into a contentious, exciting and memorable experience for a new product release in a highly competitive market.

Create something memorable

The ability for people to recall ads is often a benchmark of success, whether that’s John Lewis’ Christmas tearjerkers, Maybelline’s ‘Maybe she’s born with it’ slogan, the Go Compare jingle, or well-executed stunts.

One for the class of the 90s: Who remembers the huge Michael Jackson statue which set sail down the Thames for his ninth studio album HIStory? And another famous Thames-related stunt that saw Gail Porter being projected onto the Houses of Parliament for FHM magazine? Both seminal cultural moments that created impacted, and both PR stunts in their purest form.

Not convinced? Here are two more reasons why you should consider a PR stunt for your next marketing move:  

We crave experiences

Research shows that millennials and the GEN-Z crave experience above all else, and stunts can create an instant experience and an everlasting memory.

Bang for your buck

A stunt can be transmitted across the world in mere moments, creating content that can be used across digital, social media and even your mail drops. Creating original content can be expensive, but a well-executed stunt can give your marketing teams content for days, sometimes months.  

So, if you want to shake up your marketing mix, get in touch with WXY for your next brand project.