Here at Liz Lean PR we love a good PR stunt. The trick is to create maximum impact, ideally with a minimal budget, which results in a happy client.
The most effective PR stunts can sometimes be the most simple. If you can capture the public’s imagination the power of social media will do the rest and distribute your message worldwide as the stunt goes viral.
The key is to make sure that the message is on-brand and intrinsic to the stunt, so that it doesn’t get lost in translation and people remember to associate it with your client.
Here are our all-time top five PR stunts:
1. Airbnb Floating House
To celebrate the passing of the Deregulation Act which allow Brits to share their homes with travellers for up to 90 days a year, Airbnb sent a fully functioning house floating down the Thames to greet the morning commuters.
Weighing more than 70 tons, the floating house boasts two bedrooms, a living room, working bathroom and garden complete with apple tree and dog house.
2. Oscar Selfie
Amidst Samsung’s protests that this wasn’t actually a stunt and they were as surprised as the rest of us when Oscars’ host Ellen De Generes’s used her Samsung smartphone to take an A-list celeb selfie, the reported £12m advertising ‘integration’ campaign makes us think otherwise…
Either way, the star-studded photo taken by actor Bradley Cooper and featuring Jennifer Lawrence, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Meryl Streep was forwarded over 2m times before the ceremony was over (I hear it does drag on a bit) making it the most retweeted post of all time.
3. Snow and Rock
As an incentive for London commuters to see the world a bit differently, Snow and Rock released a new map that tells you how many times you have to climb up and down the stairs at each tube station to climb the equivalent of the world’s most famous mountains.
The website states: “Just like us, we know that you see the world differently: through the lens of adventure. We’re currently taking a fresh look at the London Underground network and seeing what adventures we can find in some of its deepest stations.
“Over the coming weeks we will be sharing our #UrbanMountains series through our Facebook and Twitter pages, showing how the deepest stations stack up against some of the UK’s highest peaks and beyond.”
4. ALS Ice Bucket challenge
This very simple stunt involves being filmed while someone dumps a bucket of ice water over your head to raise awareness of the disease Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. The video is uploaded online along with your nominations for others to take up the challenge to encourage donations to ALS research. It went viral on social media in 2014 when celebs, including Katy Perry, Kate Moss and even Kermit the Frog, took up the challenge.
There were concerns however that the message had become lost and there was huge criticism that not everyone doing the challenge was making donations. The challenge also became adopted by other charities, with people making donations to causes of their own choice.
5. Lush Animal Testing
Social sculpture student Jacqueline Traide was bound, force-fed and subjected to humiliating treatment for ten hours in the shop window of the Lush Cosmetics Regent St store in protest against animal testing.
The ‘cruelty-free’ company put on the extreme window display stunt to raise awareness of a Humane Society International campaign to end cosmetic testing on animals.
Lush campaign manager Tamsin Omond said: “Somewhere in the world, this kind of thing is happening to an animal every few seconds on average. The difference is it’s normally hidden. We need to remind people it is still going on.”
The message seemed to resonant with the shocked onlookers who filmed it on their phones.