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Stunts of the Month – Summer Edition

Stunts of the Month – Summer Edition
1 July 2016 James Brooke

In light of Taylor Herring’s presentation ‘Zen and The Art of the Publicity Stunt’ at this month’s Cannes Festival, we’ve found ourselves taking time to reflect on the historic importance and continuing influence that the role of the publicity stunt has had on PR.

From the Tour de France, to the Macy’s Day Parade, and Guinness’ message in a bottle, publicity stunts have played a significant role in the transition from conventional advertising to viral marketing campaigns. Stunts have morphed to encompass greater and grander measures, often taking on a life of their own and bringing eternal recognition to brands. Today, it is not unheard of to see a giant hamster or pair of Yetis roaming the streets of London. One needs look no further than Red Bull’s 2012 space jump to prove that the possibilities for brand stunts are limitless.

Here are some of this season’s outrageous favourites:

Jet Blue’s Free FlyBabies Flights
This Mother’s Day, JetBlue decided to woman up and face facts: no one likes a crying baby. In honour of U.S. Mother’s Day, passengers on a flight from JFK to Long Beach were rewarded for the inconveniences of flying, receiving 25% off their next flight every time a baby cried. Nick-named the ‘FlyBabies’ campaign, the Mother’s Day initiative took off with up to four babies crying equalling a free flight for all passengers to their next destination. The campaign was a success with passengers happily thanking mothers every time a baby cried as the airline reinforced its custom tagline ‘You Above All’ through its commitment to caring for customers.

Doughnuts for Doughnuts
Ever thought of frosting doughnuts with doughnuts? Neither did we, but luckily Japanese car brand Nissan did! In recognition of International Doughnut Day this June, the car company displayed a crafty side, putting its motor skills to the test in an effort to coat over 300 doughnuts with sprinkles by doing…doughnuts! To complete the feat, Nissan cleverly covered the floor with 2,800 pounds of sprinkles, putting the Nissan 370Z centre stage as the car’s doughnut shape manoeuvre sprayed sprinkles over trays of 300+ doughnuts. The car’s signature move gave a new meaning to the phrase ‘the doughnut,’ positioning Nissan as a fun and creative brand while highlighting the car’s exclusive features.

Norwegian’s Alcatraz Inspired Escape
Following Norwegian Airline’s launch of its new route from London to San Francisco, the brand’s creative team set up a giant escape room at Westfield London shopping centre. Shoppers lured into the room by curiosity were ‘trapped’ and given fifteen minutes to break free from their Alcatraz inspired prison cell. Characteristic of the real-life cells in San Francisco, shoppers could escape following a set of San Francisco inspired riddles and clues, and the lucky pairs who managed to escape were up for winning tickets on Norwegian’s new route. The brand’s stunt not only provided customers with a memorable and immersive experience, but gave a whole new meaning to the significance of escapism whilst on holiday.

KFC’s ‘finger lickin’ good’ Edible Nail Polish
Last month KFC took the leap from fast food to beauty brand with the launch of its new ‘finger lickin’ good’ edible nail polish line in Hong Kong. The launch brings a whole new meaning to the brand’s signature catchphrase ‘finger lickin’ good,’ allowing KFC fanatics not only to paint their nails in the brands signature flavours but to taste them as well! The product launch enhances the brand’s product recognition, featuring both original and hot & spicy flavours to meet market needs. To date, the polishes have only hit social media, but the lead up to the launch has led to viral excitement for the brand’s latest venture.

In PR, publicity stunts no longer apply to brands only involved in the media sectors. Well-timed, relevant, and expertly crafted stunts can lead to an increase in brand awareness, the generation of social media buzz, and most importantly, an uptake in sales and revenue returns. The current trend towards viral marketing makes stunts not only a favourable option, but if done correctly, a sure-fire way to spread awareness and increase brand recognition in place of traditional advertising and marketing techniques.

By Aaryn Vaughan