Who would’ve thought the annual multiple stage bicycle race, Tour De France, started out as a publicity stunt to promote paper sales for L’Auto magazine or that the Miss America Pageant was intended only as a one-time event gimmick to bring tourists to Atlantic City?
If done well and executed properly, publicity stunts can generate huge positive buzz for any city, organization or company, and ultimately have long lasting effects to their image and reputation.
Today, many companies struggle to break through the advertising clutter. Even with good quality brands and products on their portfolio, they always need to come up with fresher, crazier, innovative ideas to remain top of mind.
Over the past few months, here’s a short list of 10 publicity stunts done right.
10 Nivea’s Solar Ad Charger
With smartphones gaining popularity everywhere here’s one local print campaign from Nivea that truly touched on a true consumer pain: low battery life. The skincare brand took this opportunity to reiterate its brand DNA by creating special print ads that were actually solar-powered phone chargers. The ads included a solar panel and phone plug so that beachgoers could leave them under the sun and charge their phones while enjoying the sun themselves on the beaches of Rio de Janeiro. The ads ran in popular Brazilian magazine Veja Rio.
9 Vodafone Power Shorts
In line with the theme of summer, the sun and the first-world pain of low battery life, Vodafone launched the Power Pocket, which uses smart material to harvest heat when built into a sleeping bag or worn into shorts. The pocket is designed to gather enough energy through thermal and kinetic energy to power a smartphone for more than four hours, Vodafone promised, while snoozing for eight hours in the sleeping bag provides an unlikely sounding 11 hours’ extra battery life. This idea was an offshoot of the Vodafone's Booster Brolly in 2012 that used solar energy to charge a phone while also doubling as a 3G-signal booster.
8 Metro St. James’ Pay with a Kiss Campaign
The lone café based in Sydney recently generated worldwide press coverage, including Time, Daily Mail and Sunrise, for its unique payment system. Every day for the month of June, between the hours of 9am and 11am, you can pay for your coffee with a kiss. They quickly turned this “Pay with a Kiss” scheme into a campaign by taking photos of couples puckering up and uploading them onto the establishment’s Facebook and Instagram feeds. The video, shot at the beginning of the campaign two weeks ago, has had almost 450,000 views and counting.
7 Fiat’s Anti-Social Campaign
While most companies are trying to build their following on Twitter, Fiat is doing the exact opposite. With an aim to getting exactly zero followers, when you try to follow the account you will receive a direct message informing you that you can’t because the Abarth 500 is just “too fast to follow”. Seems like a witty way to deliver the message, eh?
6 Swisscom’s Samsung Galaxy S4 Stare down
This staring contest is not your ordinary stare down because for one, you can actually blink. Kidding aside, you can win a Samsung Galaxy S4 if you can stare at the phone for a good one hour without getting distracted by barking dogs, singers, arguing couples, burning hot dog vendors and motorcycle crashes. It’s a clever way to promote the Galaxy S4’s eye-tracking feature that allows you to toy with the phone without touching it. It sure sounds simple enough but not a lot of people were quite successful with the attempt. Nonetheless, the campaign became very viral on the Internet and social media.
5 Coca Cola UK’s Share a Coke Campaign
Coca Cola is a company known for its brilliant advertising worldwide. As such, it really comes as no surprise that they always make it to the list of the best publicity stunts the world has ever seen.
In UK, they’ve begun stocking the shelves with Coke bottles containing 150 of the most popular names in Britain ranging from Aaron to Zoe. This ‘Share a Coke’ campaign is also brought to life online at www.shareacoke.co.uk, where personalized Coca-Cola virtual cans can be created and shared with friends.
It’s unthinkable for any brand to replace their icon on the product, but for Coca Cola it almost seems natural to celebrate their branding with people who love their brands the most; the consumers.
4 Coca Cola’s “Small World Machines” Ad
The “Open Happiness” brand attempts to solve the messiest political conflict between India and Pakistan. How? More Coca Cola for everyone, of course! The campaign showcases a pair of connected vending machines set up in India and Pakistan. Each vending machine featured a webcam and a giant touchscreen monitor. Passersby could give away free sodas with their fingers only if the passersby on the other side would participate in a series of joint activities like drawing peace signs or dancing with each other.
3 BK Puerto Rico’s Whopper Holder Campaign
In celebrating the chain’s 50th anniversary in Puerto Rico, Burger King launched a campaign featuring a hands-free’ Whopper Sandwich holder. The videos, produced in both Spanish and English versions, showcased a guitar player singing the benefits of the device, which looks like a thick plastic necklace that allows the person to do other tasks while eating the Whopper. It’s a humorous take on celebrating the brand and the iconic Whopper Sandwich but one that was not taken quite graciously worldwide.
2 Ropid’s Love Trains for Singles
Based in Prague, Ropid set up an underground love train for single commuters. It is a long-term initiative geared towards encouraging public transit. The insight is pretty simple. There are so many things you can do inside public transit that you can’t do inside your car. One of those things is finding your future spouse.
1 Huggies’ TweetPee App
Introducing TweetPee, the newest trend in Brazil that is yet to revolutionize parenting. It’s a mobile app created by Huggies that detects whether your baby is wet and is in need of a diaper change. All it does, really, is send you a tweet to inform you of a diaper change. While many would say this innovation as a novel idea, some would think it’s lazy and negligent. Whatever the opinion, one thing is certain: it’s certainly breaking through the clutter.