What's a PR stunt? Hint: it's nothing to do with Tom Cruise.
Updated: Sep 20, 2020
One of the more creative ways to catch the media's attention is by organising a stunt.
Have no fear! Stunts in the PR world are generally safe; no hanging off the back of cars or the wings of planes, or engaging in street brawls!
A PR stunt is an event that you can produce to leverage coverage for a press story. Stunts are usually related to what's happening in the news and are highly visual, so they provide fantastic reason for the media to use the content.
A great photo alone can convey a strong story. Or it can enhance a story that the press wouldn't otherwise run.
Now, most businesses are tight on budgets, so big stunts are unrealistic. However, with some creative thinking, you could surprise yourself with what you come up with!
But, to give you an idea of what has worked traditionally by big brands, here are a few brilliant examples.
Carlsberg - Battle bus campaign
Carlsberg has been known for their cheeky ad campaigns for ages. The below stunt is a take on the political 'battle buses' in the UK, used on the campaign trail for press interviews and transporting politicians around the country.
I'm not sure if this stunt took place during a campaign, but that would be the time to do it to make the stunt relevant, newsworthy and offering a bit of fun during what can be a anxious time for the public.
Amnesty International - Refugee family reunion bill
The human rights charity, Amnesty International, created an installation in central London to highlight a concerning issue of how UK law separates refugee families.
After cordoning off a zone on London's Southbank - a very popular tourist spot - Amnesty's 'security guards' stopped families passing through together, Parents were told to leave children with the guards while they walked through the zone without them.
The aim was likely to offer a small taste of the distress that refugee families probably experience when forced to divide by the authorities.
Although the stunt would've raised the profile of the charity, the inspiration behind the event was to bring attention to the public (via the media) to the Family Reunion Bill that had been held up in Parliament.
Greggs - Vegan sausage roll
This campaign created a bit of a storm in my industry as it was so much fun and unexpected, both in the way it was presented to key media contacts. The fact that Greggs had been renown for their delicious sausage rolls. Nobody in the Britain expected the brand to launch a vegan sausage roll!
Cleverly, Greggs sent out samples of the product in smart phone boxes or as videos in a slick presentation pack. This is campaign was very resource-heavy, and not as suitable for ethical brands, but it's a good example of how a brand can catch the attention of the national press using out-of-the-box ideas.
Extinction Rebellion - Rising sea levels
Environmental activist organisation, Extinction Rebellion, floated a what looked like a submerged house along the River Thames to highlight the issue of rising sea levels.
The Thames is a well-used location for stunts as it always never fails to create great photos with famous landmarks in the background.
Avanti West Coast - Pride train
Another great stunt involving wrapping transport is by train company, Avanti West Coast.
Following the cancellation of 2020's Pride celebrations, Avanti showed support by staffing the wrapped train with LGBTQ+ crew members for its first official service.
It's highly visual, on-topic, and great fun!
If you'd like to discuss some of your own ideas, why not book a brainstorming session with me, Elma? We can talk on the phone or online.: email@example.com.
Check out my course too - Beginner's PR for Ethical Entrepreneurs.
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