Wednesday, 26 October 2016

How to create publicity stunts

For a long-term in a history of publicity stunts ,there has been created the enormous amount of news stories for media.
But even now, many PR managers struggle with an issue - how exactly to create publicity stunts?
How to make media notice a news maker?

 At first - what is a PR stunt and how it works.

The PR stunt is the artificially created public event which draws attention to media and the public with the singularity and a bright visual row.
What is the mechanism of a creation of a publicity stunt?
The PR stunt can be compared to the Trojan Horse which was used by the ancient Greeks in the fight against Trojans. Publicists do the same. They put bright and, often, provocative "wrapper" on their promoted message and introduce it to public.
People begin to retell this information as the interesting story or as a joke to one another. But, when they talk about this event they also report all needed information.
Let's pass to technicians of the creation of PR stunts. Further, you will see the examples of the stunts created by prominent PR agencies and me.

1) Mix of unmixable
This method assumes consolidation within any process of not compatible objects or concepts. I want to note from my experience: as further there are combined objects from each other by their meaning, as more successful the event becomes.

Example 1.
The pop group «3D» and parkour performers of BLR (Grodno), with the support of the Grodno region transport police, held a rally against drug use at Grodno railway station. 
Bound participants of «3D» sang lying on the rails in front of the oncoming train, painted over death. 
Thus, they metaphorically showed fears of an addicted person. 
At this time, the second "dark" group (parkour performers embodying the evil of drugs) and "white" (eternal values of mankind), were in a staging fight with acrobatic elements for "captives".

Example 2
Regional Committee of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection in cooperation with the scientific and industrial group «Ecological Alternative" held a rubber coating test for the rubber mats, made from discarded automobile tires, with the help of a military tank.
 This was done for the promotion of new recycling technologies that allows to converting waste products in the industry and agriculture.

Example 3.
Eugene YakushBallet and, with the support of Grodno traffic police, organized a protest against the drivers’ aggression towards pedestrians. 
The action took place at a busy crossroads in the center of Grodno. 
The essence of the campaign was the following: when the traffic light showed red Eugene Yakushballet dancers appeared in front of ordinary drivers. 
The dancers looked like victims of road accidents (thanks to a make-up artist Eleanora Zamyslovskaya). They were carrying notices naming the most common causes of pedestriansdeath on the road, such as "I didn’t look around ", " I went without flicker ", " Run over by a scorcher", " I went on a red light". 

2) A competition method.
It is possible to carry this technique as real competitions between people, various competitions and festivals, and competitions to nature.

Example 1
In 2012, Felix Baumgartner became the first person to break the sound barrier (without the help of a machine) by falling 23 miles from the Earth’s stratosphere. 
The stunt, which was conceived, produced and broadcast by Red Bull, captured the world’s attention and pulled in 8m live views on YouTube.

Example 2
The Tour de France.
100 years ago Henri Desgrange came up with the idea of a bike race round France in order to raise the profile of L’Auto, the newspaper he worked for. 
It captured the imagination of the public, doubled the circulation of L’Auto and eventually put its rival paper Le Velo out of business. The event is now broadcast in 188 countries.

3) A charity method.
Charity events are very often created in PR. Objects and methods of charity can be very different. Sometimes due to the originality of a charity event it is possible to reach an additional resonance.

Example 1
Samsung asked Tailor Herring to help build buzz around their sponsorship of Crufts 2015. They decided to Build a hi-tech dog kennel. 
24 hours before the opening of Crufts 2015, the ‘Samsung Dream Doghouse’ was unveiled.
With features including an entertainment wall, paw operated snack dispenser, ‘woofing’ tannoy system, hot-tub spa to name a few!
A lucky terrier cross, Gracie, tested the Dream Doghouse’s luxurious and high-tech design before a Samsung competition entrant took it home for her even luckier pooch!

Example 2
At July 4 in the day of the appearance of the book by Lewis Carroll's "Alice in the Wonderland", cafe "Clover", together with creative people of Grodno in support of the Centre TIME presented a scene "Mad Tea Party" of a given work. 
During this event residents not only seen and talked to the book characters - Hatter, Cheshire Cat, and others, but also they had a chance to be in a point, «where time disappears."
Participant of action could be anybody for their financial aid for the children with cancer.
The purpose of the event was to draw attention to the problems of children and adults, faced with cancer, for which the time is now - the most precious resource.

4) A method of a scandal.
A lot of businesspeople are afraid of scandals. However operated scandals are sometimes safer than illiterate "standard" PR.

Example 1.
Adam Spiegel Productions asked Taylor Herring PR to launch the new touring stage of The Producers with a bang. 
Upstage the opening morning of the UKIP Party conference with dancing 'Nazis' and a 16 ton World War II tank. 
The stunt was timed to land 30 minutes before conference began, filling the news vacuum. 
Dancers in hot pants, Jackboots and insignia astonished delegates unveiling the party's General Election campaign manifesto in Margate, Kent.

Example 2.
A pop band "17 seconds" performed in one cage of Grodno zoo. 
Impersonating witches, the singers of the band decided to draw attention to Slavic fairy tales and folklore instead of “fast food” Hollywood movies. 

5) A method of non-standard direct advertisement.
Creative unusual ad becomes an excellent publicity action by itself. It gains millions of views on YouTube and causes a discussion in social media and press.
To launch the high quality TV channel TNT in Belgium Duval Guillaume (Belgium) placed a big red push button on an average Flemish square of an average Flemish town.
 A sign with the text "Push to add drama" invited people to use the button.

6) Accession to a famous person.
In this method, it is necessary to combine our object of publicity and a celebrity.

Example 1
In memory of Nelson Mandela, a Belarussian choreographer Evgeny Yakush created a deaf dance style dance by turning the sign language into the dance moves. 
His creation was sent to the Belarusian South Africa Embassy as a symbol of respect to Nelson Mandela.

Example 2
A Belarusian artist Julia Kovsh presented a portrait of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s son . In the painting of A3 format ,Prince George Alexander Louis is depicted at the age of 25. 
Another distinctive feature of the portrait is that it’s made of crumb rubber derived from discarded tires by non-waste recycling. 
The painting will be presented to Prince July 22, 2028, on his 25th birthday. 

7) Accession to a known event.
Here we choose an event which is already on the agenda. Media are in search of a news story which would show this event from a new angle.

Example 1
On May 22, at 12.00, members of a pop band "17 Seconds" were made up as the Greek goddess Nike, and sang their own anthem "Ice ice ice," standing on a moving carriage (an exact copy of that belonging to the Austrian royal family) with horses in Sovetskaya Street in Grodno . 
The distinctive feature of the action was that the stylist Anna Mania made the exact copies of statues of the goddess Nike from the singers with a golden body, ancient Greek dresses and with laurel wreaths.
 The action is intended to support the Belarus team at the World Hockey Championship in Minsk

Example 2
At June 29 on the eve of the start of the Summer Olympics, world champion in Thai boxing Rinat Bulatov held his first exhibition of paintings in Belarus, drawn only by methods of Thai boxing.
"I’ve wanted to show a new, aesthetic side of Thai boxing and to urge the International Olympic Committee to include this sport in the program of competitions - says Rinat Bulatov. - Muay Thai is a jewel in the sport, which should shine brightly on the most important event in the world of sport, the Olympic Games ".

8) Accession to a holiday.
Here we use holidays, anniversaries for a creation of a publicity stunt.

Example 1
On April 23, on the 50th anniversary of the company records "Melody", a pop band "17 seconds" sang a potpourri of greatest hits in the history of "Melody". 
There were: "Malinovka", "Musica nas sviazala", "Buhgalter", etc. inside a huge plate in the center of Grodno. The distinctive feature of the "plate" was that for its construction only crumb rubber, recycled from discarded tires was used.
"Just as crumb rubber has been used successfully in the industry, and the hits of " Melody "now acquire a" second wind "- says the head of the project" Living History "Sergei Ivanov. - 
With this campaign, we have not only congratulated the "Melody "on the anniversary but also have showт the relevance of their hits for today's youth. "

Example 2.
A Belarusian artist Yulia Bolbat created Frank Sinatra's portrait from dog food (A1 size) to the 100 anniversary of the great artist. 
It is the first-ever picture created in a new art form - "Pet art" (Pat an art) where all works are performed only from food for animals.
Using this work, the artist decided to draw attention to the animals containing in shelters. 

9) Accession to a known inanimate object or a place.
This method is similar to "accession to the famous person», but instead of a human celebrity we "join" the known subject or a place.

Example 1
At the Taylor Herring PR stunt, SKODA invited their fans to come and celebrate the future of city driving with an automotive homage to Stonehenge made entirely from scrapped cars.

Example 2.
Grodno theater "Red Star" and the center "TIME" opened the Alley stars of world celebrities. 
Their peculiarity is that  each star contained the name of a person who not only made a significant contribution to the development of art but also has faced with cancer and was able to defeat the disease.
 One of the stars was "empty", without a name. It embodied the talent of Belarusian children faced with cancer. 

10) Accession to a famous animal
Here a PR manager originally "joins" the known animal or the living being. 
It can be animals of celebrities, animals-movie stars, or just outstanding representatives of fauna, as it shown in the following 2 examples.

Example 1
A natural history TV channel Eden challenged Taylor Herring PR to create and stage a large-scale visual stunt to draw attention to their launch day. 
The Taylor Herring team interrogated the launch programming schedule for ideas and analysed the most iconic wildlife scenes and images of recent years for inspiration. 
After much debate they finally arrived at the key creative an iceberg featuring a stranded polar bear floating adrift on the River Thames. 
To capitalise on Eden’s launch and to target key demographics, the sculpture was then sent on a tour of UK cities including Birmingham, Leeds and Glasgow.

Example 2
The vocalist of a rock group "I and They" Kirill Pax and the Grodno zoo have presented the first model of jeans created by a lion. 
Thus, organizers urged to care of preservation of animals. 
The musician intends to make "lion's" jeans as a part of the scenic image which will remind every time to public of the importance of a careful attitude to animals.

11) An answer method
In this direction, the PR manager needs to create an event- answer on any urgent news.
Condition: it is important to make a stunt as quickly as it possible, because otherwise, it will be already irrelevant.
A Grodno choreographer Eugene Yakush decided to prove that famous Van Damme’s split in the advertisement of Volvo between trucks can be done without belay. 

12. "To be in a place where media will already been"
Here the PR manager's task is to insert the event which will draw a large number of media.

Example 1.
At the Taylor Herring stunt, Paddy Power, the A list bookmaker, caused a sensation on the MasterCard Brit Awards red carpet last night with their very own Daft Punk lookalikes who, after mingling with pop royalty, surprised onlookers by whipping off their trousers Chippendale style to reveal a fetching pair of Paddy Power’s world famous Lucky Pants.

Example 2
It is the stunt, made by Ogilvy PR. They chose the International Paris Marathon to illustrate the distance African women and children must walk every day to get clean water. 
The platform became “The Marathon Walker”.

To sum up I would say, that using the methods of creation of PR stunts increases quantity and quality of the new ideas for publicity, regardless of the country where they will be carried out.

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