Once celebrities make it to the top, it takes a lot to stay there; they have the constant pressure of staying relevant. They can stay in the limelight through releasing new songs, launching a new line, starring in new movies, making appearances or simply by doing something outrageous. The more people talk about a star, the more popular they are and the more money they make.
Celebrities engage in publicity stunts to boost their popularity and get back to being the center of attention. Some publicity stunts are so well orchestrated that you would never know it’s fake, while others are so embarrassing you’re left wondering if the debacle was worth the fame. Whether the stunts are successfully pulled off or go down in flames, they usually succeed in getting the celeb talked about and sometimes the bad stunts are the most effective.
Of course, you can’t always tell whether something outrageous is a publicity stunt or just a true part of life. However, when something crazy in a celebrity’s life seems to happen a few months before they release something new, you can bet it’s a hoax. These celebrities are pretty good at making things seems real, but remember – you shouldn’t believe everything you see.
10. Robert Pattinson & Kristen Stewart’s “Relationship”
Their relationship was almost as dramatic as the entire Twilight series. While it’s never been confirmed that their relationship was simply a ruse, the convenient timing, as well as their dramatic break-up, make it seem like it was all for show. Real or not, their roller-coaster romance definitely didn’t hurt Twilight‘s record breaking debut.
Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart started dating in 2009 after meeting during the filming of the first movie. From the beginning, rumors stating that the relationship was a mere publicity stunt surrounded their romance. In early 2012, Stewart cheated on Pattinson, which created a media frenzy, but later in 2012 they were seen together again. However in 2013, they broke up for good. For four years, their relationship was such a mystery, hopefully it’s completely over now.
9. Kanye West vs. 50 Cent
You know them both, but did you know they created a fake feud to make millions? In 2007, the two rappers went head to head to sell more albums than the other. It was so “intense” that 50 claimed he would drop out of the rap game if Kanye won. The two stood face to face at the MTV VMA’s to get publicity for their stunt and to encourage fans to back their favorite rapper by buying his album.
The stunt worked because it shot both their albums to platinum status. Kanye later revealed that the whole feud was a stunt and that it accomplished what it was supposed to. So even when celebs seem to really be gunning for each other, just remember it’s probably to help line their pockets.
8. The Blair Witch Project Project
They took this stunt to scary lengths. The dedication to this scam is one of the most successful in history. The Blair Witch Project debuted in 1999 at the Sundance Film Festival. The movie is filmed as a documentary from the perspective of teens who discovered a witch and were sequentially killed by her.
Prior to the premiere, the filmmakers stated the movie was 100% real and that the actors were missing and assumed dead (the actors never made a public appearance so this was easily believed). They took it a step further and hung “missing” posters for the main actors around the festival to up the excitement and they succeeded. The movie which cost $22,000 to produce, grossed more than $250 million, which puts it in the hall of fame of movie hoaxes.
7. James Franco: Pedophile..?
If you haven’t been living under a rock for the past few months, you know that James Franco tried to hook up with a girl that was in high school. News sources reported that Franco took a photograph with a teenager, which she later posted to Instagram and tagged him in. When he saw the tag he messaged her and invited her to his hotel room that night, but she declined.
While at first glance this just seems gross, after a little more thought it looks a lot like his new movie. Palo Alto features Franco playing an older man who seduces a 14 year old girl in high school, which is almost identical to the reported scandal. To make it even more of a “coincidence”, his debacle in real life occurred April 1st, the same day the trailer for Palo Alto was released…definitely a publicity stunt.
6. Sacha Baron Cohen: The Stunt King
It wasn’t enough for him to show up to a red-carpet event dressed as his character in The Dictator, he had to make his stunt even bigger. Sasha Baron Cohen also brought along an urn, which he claimed was filled with the ashes of Kim Jung-il and then proceeded to accidentally spill them all over Ryan Seacrest on the red carpet. Obviously this wasn’t real, but it created a lot of hype right before the movie went to theaters and played a part in its success on opening day.
5. Lady Gaga And Her Meat Dress
You’ve heard all about this one. Lady Gaga is known for outrageous outfits that befit publicity stunts, well her whole personality just seems like one. From the rumors about her being transgendered, to the meat dress, to her magical performance at the Oscar’s, she seems to always have something new for us to talk about.
At the 2010 VMA’s, Lady Gaga wore an outfit (including hat and booties) made entirely of raw meat. Time named it one of the top fashion statements of the year, but animal rights groups weren’t nearly as impressed. Gaga stated that the dress was supposed to symbolize her disapproval of the military’s don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy, but people were more interested in the fact she was wearing meat. The dress has been preserved (as jerky) and now hangs in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and even has its own Wikipedia page.
4. Britney and Madonna’s Make-Out
Stage make-outs must really be Madonna‘s go-to publicity stunt. In 2003, also at the VMA’s (that’s apparently where all the action goes down), Madonna and Britney turned an homage to Madonna’s 1984 ‘Like a Virgin’ performance into a whole new spectacle. During their on stage performance, the two kissed and drove the audience absolutely crazy. After the stunt, album sales shot up, maybe so much so that Madonna felt the need to do it again, but this time with rapper Drake.
3. Independence Day’s Fake News
Independence Day, one of the most famous science-fiction movies, made its debut in 1996. Most movies release a trailer prior to the debut and in order for them to air it on television, the trailer has to be 30 seconds or less. However, Independence Day was produced by Fox who has its own channel to do with whatever it chooses, and for this movie, it chose to con the viewers.
Fox created a news broadcast that looked like any other 30 minute news segment. However, there was an “interruption” in the middle of the show to debut breaking news of an alien attack on earth. The interruption contained footage from the movie that was so convincing people believed it was actually happening and called 911 in a panic. It wasn’t a completely original idea though, because in 1938, a radio broadcast was interrupted with feed from War of the Worlds that made people believe aliens were invading in order to promote the show.
2. Janet Jackson At The Superbowl
You know exactly what I’m talking about. Yeah, that’s how successful this stunt was; it’s still clear in everyone’s mind over 10 years later. The halftime show of the 2004 Superbowl was probably more exciting than the rest of the game. Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake made history when he “accidentally” ripped part of her top off right while he sang, “bet I’ll have you naked by the end of this song”.
It seemed a little too planned from the debacle occurring during that specific line to the fact that she happened to have her nipple covered by an over-sized star, to the fact she had just released an album. The event garnered 500,000 complaints that day, but did nothing to help her album sales. Although, Justin Timberlake became a lot more famous afterward…guess that backfired.
1. Kim Kardashian’s Sex Tape
You know her, her family and every detail of their lives all because of a sex tape. In 2007 Kim was dating Ray-J, an R&B singer, and the two of them made a sex-tape that happened to get “leaked”. Even though no one had really heard of either of these celebs, the tape caused a huge uproar and resulted in the stars getting their own reality shows weeks later, in addition to multi-million dollar settlements.
The Kardashian family capitalized on the scandal and turned their new notoriety into an empire that’s continually expanding. While each Kardashian now seems to have her own endeavor, Kim’s sisters recognize that she got them their career. On an episode of their show Keeping Up with the Kardashians, one of the sisters reminds the others that they owe all their success to Kim having sex.