Sales & Marketing
8 of the best PR and marketing stunts ever
3 min read
27 March 2014
From Taco Bell's decision to rename a historic landmark, to statues of Michael Jackson popping up around Europe, here are eight of the best PR and marketing stunts.
1. Paddy Power
Paddy Power sent two Daft Punk impersonators to gatecrash the Brit awards red carpet in 2014. The impersonators managed to convince everyone they were the actual members of the band, but soon after they whipped off their trousers revealing green Paddy Power underwear to the audience and paparazzi.
2. Taco Bell
In 1996 Taco Bell took out an advertisement in The New York Times that read “Taco Bell Buys the Liberty Bell”, claiming that the historic landmark would be renamed ‘Taco Liberty Bell’.
After thousands of people called in to complain, Taco Bell admitted that it was an April fools prank. The stunt generated millions in sales after it got covered by thousands of media outlets.
In 2007 KFC built the largest logo in the world near Area 51 in Nevada, USA. They shot the logo with Google Earth’s satellite, which generated over 600 million views. The publicity stunt was made to promote KFC’s new logo.
4. Red Bull
When Felix Baumgartner broke the sound barrier in 2012 with a 24 mile space jump, Red Bull made sure their ‘Gives you wings’ slogan was taken seriously. About eight million people watched the Red Bull sponsored jump, as Baumgartner became part of one of the greatest marketing stunts of all time.
5. Sony Music
In 1995 Michael Jackson and Sony Music were preparing for the release of the pop icon’s new album. To promote the album, Sony created a 33 foot tall statue of Michael that floated along the Thames, under Tower Bridge in London. It was only one of the ten statues placed around Europe to launch the ‘HIStory’ album.
6. Blair Witch Project
When the film hit theatres in 1999, the producers were determined to convince people it was real. So they hung missing posters around Sundance Film Festival, claiming the actors were missing and assumed dead. The hoax was a very successful one, as the film grossed around £150m, with a modest budget of £13,000.
Ahead of its launch of 3D TVs, Samsung worked to create an event that generated over 2.4bn media impressions. The event consisted in an impromptu Black Eyed Peas concert in the middle of Times Square. The surprise concert was filmed by Avatar director James Cameron, adding to the wow-factor of this marketing stunt.
8. British Airways
In 2000, British Airways was head sponsor of the London Eye, but during the press conference, the wheel could not be lifted off the ground. After several failed attempts, Richard Branson came up with the idea of sending an airplane fly over with a banner reading “BA can’t get it up.” The stunt is considered one of the wittiest of all time.