Personally, I love publicity stunts – they’re bold, create a bit of a buzz (if executed well) and can put your brand on the top of the media agenda.
So without further ado, here are my top three publicity stunts – evah!
Reality show to win a kidney
The Dutch know reality TV. Shows such as Big Brother and The Voice originated in the Netherlands, but with the launch of the reality show “The Big Donor Show” in 2007, people – including the Dutch Prime Minister who was seriously concerned the show would damage the country’s reputation –were outraged.
The premise of the one-time reality show was that three contestants would compete for a kidney from a terminally ill woman. They would receive a kidney transplant when she died, and viewers were encouraged to vote on which contestant should “win”.
Media from all over the world flocked to the live taping of the show, and if Twitter had existed at this time, it would probably have gone into a meltdown.
However, as the show started to air, it was revealed to just be a publicity stunt to raise awareness of the shortage of organ donors in Holland. And it worked! Over 7,000 people signed organ donations forms in the month after the show aired.
Michelin chef cooks with discount groceries
Swedish foodies rejoiced as pop up restaurant Dill opened in the trendy area of Södermalm in Stockholm last month. The venue offered a nine course degustation menu prepared by two-Michelin star chef Michael Wignall at the amazing price of $78 – which in the exxy Swedish capital is a massive bargain.
The restaurant filled up swiftly, and Dill received rave reviews from gourmands in the media.
However, it was soon revealed to be a publicity stunt organised by discount supermarket chain Liedl (an Aldi equivalent) to showcase that exceptional food can be prepared with cheap produce.
Many foodies – especially the snooty reviewers – felt tricked and were angered to have just been a pawn in Liedl’s PR strategy.
But most of the guests appreciated the opportunity to enjoy a nice meal at a great price!
Best job in the world
Europeans are not the only ones who can pull publicity stunts!
In 2009, Tourism Queensland launched a big campaign, and announced they were hiring for “the best job in the world”, a caretaker for Hamilton Island in the Great Barrier Reef.
The goal was to raise consumer awareness amongst tourists as Islands of the Great Barrier Reef as a travel destination, and the campaign got global recognition, with people from all parts of the world applying for the job.
The campaign was such a success it was relaunched and revamped this year, with six positions up for grabs in six different regions of Australia.
So to answer my original question, to publicity stunt or not to publicity stunt? To publicity stunt, definitely ! Live a little but do consult first with a leading PR agency (subtle, no?).
Now I’d love to hear which one is YOUR favourite publicity stunt! Please share in the comments below.