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That must be a PR stunt… right?

Working in PR, it’s a phrase we hear on a regular basis. Spotting the sometimes blatant attempts to capitalise on publicity from a stunt is one of our favourite pastimes. Okay, so it’s not really, but we do love a good old PR stunt!

And we’re not talking about Z-list-celebs-skirt-blows-up-in-a-gust-of-wind-Marilyn-stylee stunt at the Soap Awards. We’re talking about the strategic campaigns that have been precisely planned and executed by the talented PR staff working behind the scenes.

Our favourites of the year so far have been the Tropicana sun installation in Trafalgar Square, which banished the winter blues briefly for Londoners up early enough to enjoy it in all its glory.

Then there’s the Castlemaine XXXX island that has been leased by the Australian brewery, who are now asking members of the public to decide how the island should be developed (the research trip alone would have been worth the potential ridicule from colleagues for suggesting such an outlandish idea).

The Anton Berg Generous Store also caught our eye (and made us a little peckish as an office of chocolate lovers) as the world’s first chocolate store where you could only pay with a promise of a good deed rather than money. Backed up by signing into Facebook and contacting the person you promise to do the good deed for, the video has so far racked up an impressive 70,000 plus hits on YouTube.

And we can’t talk about great stunts without mentioning HROC’s recent choice as campaign of the week, featuring a seemingly innocuous button placed in a sleepy town in Belgium.

Celebrating the launch of a new TV channel TNT designed to bring some ‘drama’ to local television, when the ‘push this button for drama’ button is pushed all hell breaks loose with a series of comedy antics unfolding too numerous to mention, catching the unaware pusher completely off guard. So far the video has amassed an immense 30,000,000 plus views showing what a little creative thinking can accomplish.

Seemingly, the age of the PR stunt appears to not only be alive and well, but is also a successful means of getting across your message to a wider audience in a memorable way. You only have to search #prstunt on Twitter to find more great examples.

Stunt activity is a fun and fast way of gaining awareness, editorial coverage and buzz about a product or brand. With the use of social media; news of stunt activity can spread like wildfire, meaning talkability can sky rocket while ROI can be easily monitored qualitively e.g. how may people are engaging with it, who is tweeting/Facebooking about it? Hopefully, if the campaign has been well planned, it will reach its target audience and more.

HROC’s most recent stunt took place at the Ideal Home Show for our client Geberit AquaClean – a state of the art WC that cleans you with water and includes a model that dries you also. The product range was launched at the show last year and, with no ‘new’ models to speak of, our brief was to re-ignite interest in the product and generate activity to create a buzz and additional footfall/interest in the stand.

Thus, the ‘Jubiloo’ was born (get it? Jubilee and loo… I’m wasted in PR). The theme explored the notion of the Geberit Aquaclean as a throne befitting Her Majesty herself. With that in mind, we drafted in the UK’s most qualified Queen impersonator to meet her loyal subjects, which tied in perfectly given that the HRH Prince of Wales officially opened the show (coincidence… I think not!). Throughout the event the Queen and the Jubiloo caused quite a stir with more than a few having to double-take.

Of course, stunts don’t always go according to plan and there are some horrible examples of stunts going wrong (we’re too kind to name any of them). Whilst the right stunt can make a brand, a wrong stunt can easily break a brand too, so it’s important that you have the right team behind the idea to plan it as precisely as possible.

But in the end, remember: ‘there is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about and that is not being talked about’ (Oscar Wilde).