Most celebrities are extremely public figures. We know almost everything about them and their lives. We follow their lives in newspapers, online and on TV. We know all the latest gossip pertaining to them and most of us discuss them and their lives with our friends. Some of these celebrities are musicians and some are actors. Others are just public figures that are constantly on TV but who don’t seem to have any real talents. Of course, when it comes to real celebrities (those who actually do something) we follow their careers and their new releases. But no one can deny that their private lives are usually more interesting than their careers. And if suddenly one celebrity becomes boring, we swiftly move on to another.
Of course, this affects their ratings and their careers. As a result, some celebrities feel like they must perform shocking publicity stunts to keep their fans’ interest. But to work, these publicity stunts have to seem like they are genuine, and not planned. Fake relationships are probably the easiest type of publicity stunt to fake. And they are effective: who isn’t interested to find out that their favorite celebrity is dating someone new? Other great and effective publicity stunts include feuds and leaks. But to be effective, all publicity stunts have to be outrageous. And of course, it is best to keep these PR stunts a secret. Once the public finds out that they were staged they may become angry at the celebrity, or worse, lose interest.
15. Joe Jonas’ & Demi Lovato’s Relationship
It is said that Joe Jonas’ and Demi Lovato’s romantic relationship was nothing more than a publicity stunt. According to anonymous sources, Disney publicists asked Joe Jonas if he could date Demi Lovato so as to better the ratings for the 2010 Disney Channel original movie Camp Rock 2.
Joe apparently thought it was a great idea but forgot to tell Demi that their whole relationship was just for show. Supposedly Demi eventually found out that Joe was using her for publicity purposes only and had a mental breakdown.
After Joe and his father revealed to Demi that the whole affair was just an act, Demi felt totally used. It is said that Demi really did love Joe, so finding out that he had only gone out with her for the press and ratings was heartbreaking.
14. Charlie Sheen’s Meltdown
In 2012, the actor Charlie Sheen supposedly suffered a mid-life crisis and had a huge meltdown. So what happened? Sheen said some mean things about his boss and got suspended from the TV show Two and a Half Men. His drug abuse combined with his unpredictable behavior forced his ex-wife to seek legal help in restricting Sheen’s access to his children.
All of this would have made any other man want to hide from the world, at least temporarily. But not Sheen. Instead, he invited a porn star to share his new bed with him and his former nanny. You’d think the world would hate him. But when Sheen set up his Twitter account he instantly accumulated 1.5 million followers. So was his meltdown just a mishap in his life or a clever PR stunt?
13. Paris Hilton’s Leaked Tape
In 2003, Paris Hilton’s sex tape leaked. The footage of the sex tape was three years old at the time it leaked and was rather grainy. It showcased Hilton and her former boyfriend Rick Salomon having steamy sex.
The tape was 27 minutes long and was downloaded by thousands of people. A deal was made between the Hilton family and Marvad Corp, a porn company, to stop any copies being made of the footage but obviously the deal was not very successful.
Paris was supposedly embarrassed by the tape but some claim that the leaked tape was just a publicity stunt. Although most would be embarrassed by a leaked sex tape, the New York Post gossip columnist Richard Johnson claims that Paris is thick-skinned and that if anything, she benefited from it. In fact, because the tape was leaked before the premiere of Paris new reality show, many claim it was all just a PR stunt.
12. Nicki Minaj’s And DJ Khaled’s Engagement
In 2013, DJ Khaled proposed to Nicki Minaj on MTV. Nicki then proceeded to wear the diamond engagement ring. However, many were skeptical whether the engagement was real. And it turned out, they were right to have doubts. In fact, shortly after the supposed engagement, Nicki came clean saying that she never thought the proposal was real even though she was “shocked like the rest of the world” during the proposal.
But at the same time, Nicki was supposedly “cracking up laughing with the rest of the world ‘cause Khaled is a master at what he does’. Nicki revealed that the engagement was just a PR stunt to promote the song the pair was working on, “I Wanna Be With You”.
11. Kanye West Interrupting Taylor Swift
Kanye West caused quite a stir during the 2009 MTV Music Video Award ceremony. When Taylor Swift won the Best Female Video category (for “You Belong With Me”) she was called on stage to accept her reward.
Her video “You Belong With Me” beat Beyonce’s video “Single Ladies”. Obviously, Kanye did not think it fair. Just as Swift started her acceptance speech, West jumped on stage, took the microphone from the shocked Swift and announced that Beyonce deserved the award more than Swift. He said, “Yo Taylor, I’m really happy for you, I’ll let you finish, but Beyonce has one of the best videos of all time. One of the best videos of all time!”
10. Katy Perry Supporting Hillary Clinton
In 2016, Katy Perry was determined to ensure her fans (and not just them) would turn up on election-day and would vote for Hillary Clinton. Katy said she’d vote naked in the upcoming election and even made a video with the American humour site “Funny Or Die” in which she encouraged everyone to “roll out of bed and come to the polls in whatever state you wake up in”.
Katy supposedly sleeps naked, so she was going to roll out of bed and vote in the nude. Perry’s stunt was driven by good intentions, no doubt, but she did get something out of it herself – lots of publicity and a renewed interest both in her career and her private life.
9. Lil Wayne’s Feud With Birdman
In 2014, Lil Wayne made a public announcement that he doesn’t want to have anything more to do with Birdman and Slim’s label. Lil Wayne (or Weezy) tweeted to his fans that his new album, Tha Carter V, which was due to be released on December 8th, won’t be released because Birdman and Cash Money refuse to release it.
Lil Wayne even went so far as to say he was a prisoner of the situation. However, many took the situation to be nothing more than a publicity stunt intended to generate more sales when the album eventually did get released. Neither Birdman not Lil Wayne has confirmed that their feud was a publicity stunt however, and to this day, the public’s opinion is divided on the issue.
8. Kim Kardashian’s Robbery
In 2016, Kim Kardashian was robbed at gunpoint. Five masked men supposedly tied her up in the bathroom of her Paris apartment and stole jewelry worth £7.8 million.
Kim Kardashian often flaunts her jewelry and her wealth both on social media and on her TV show Keeping Up With The Kardashians. So perhaps it is no surprise that she was eventually robbed.
However, some claim that the robbery was just a PR stunt. They point out that the robbery happened at a very opportune moment – just as the next season of Keeping Up With The Kardashians was about to go live. The ratings for the TV show had been falling so an exciting story was needed to get the bored viewers to tune into the show once again.
7. Buckcherry Leak Their Own Music
In 2008, someone had apparently leaked the American rock band’s Buckcherry’s upcoming single “Too Drunk…” The single was leaked on BitTorrent before its official release date, and hundreds of people had downloaded it. The supposedly shocked and upset band then had a press release during which they discussed the awful incident.
During the press release, the band also said, “Honestly, we hate it when this shit happens, because we want our FANS to have any new songs first”. The statement of Buckcherry’s members seemed quite genuine. However, sometime later it was revealed that it was in fact Buckcherry’s band manager who had leaked the new song in an effort to garner attention. What a sneaky PR move.
6. Kimye Vogue Cover
In 2014 Anna Wintour admitted that putting Kim Kardashian and Kanye West on the cover of Vogue was a PR stunt. Even though Vogue is a magazine that is considered by most to be the fashion bible, it can’t completely ignore mass appeal. At the end of the day, it’s important to sell as many copies of the magazine as possible.
The Kardashians are always at the center of attention, so placing them on the cover of Vogue was a strategic choice. Wintour admitted so herself – putting someone of questionable taste level on the magazine cover is bound to generate a lot of talk, which is what the magazine is aiming for.
According to Wintour, “if we just remain deeply tasteful and just out deeply tasteful people on the cover, it would be a rather boring magazine. Nobody would talk about us. It’s very important that people do talk about us.”
5. Joaquin Phoenix The Rapper
In 2009, the actor Joaquin Phoenix shocked the world when he announced that he had decided to quit his acting career. Instead, he was going to take up hip-hop. Phoenix claimed that hip hop would be his new career. Sounds a bit nuts, doesn’t it? However, it turned out that his strange declaration was just a PR stunt.
The stunt was performed in anticipation of the new documentary produced by Phoenix himself and Casey Affleck. The fake documentary was supposed to “explore celebrity and the relationship between the media and the consumers and the celebrities themselves.”
4. Kanye West’s $53 Million Debt
In 2016, Kanye West tweeted that he was $53 million in debt. He even asked the billionaire Mark Zuckerberg for $1 billion investment which Kanye said he would use to fund his projects. This revelation shocked his fans who couldn’t believe that their beloved rapper was in financial difficulty.
But, it turns out, Kanye wasn’t actually in debt. Kanye owns several businesses (his clothing line, for example) and has invested in a few others. Kanye is said to be worth millions. And his supposed debt? Well, according to an insider, Kanye “is a master in marketing and is doing everything he can to generate interest in his albums, Tidal and his clothing line… He will make millions and millions more from all this attention.”
3. Sex Pistols Crash The Queen’s Silver Jubilee
In 1976, the Sex Pistols sailed up the river Thames during the long-awaited Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee with the intention of crashing the celebration. They blared their single, “God Save the Queen” and were promptly arrested by London’s constabulary who invaded their boat and put an end to their ridiculous stunt.
The stunt was arranged by Malcolm McLaren, the band’s manager. That day he was arrested with a few others on board the boat. While the PR stunt certainly garnered a lot of attention, it also hurt the band – The Sex Pistols were unable to get any music gigs in England due to the ban that was issued on their band. Maybe they should have thought out their stunt better.
2. Actress Rebecca Lim Retiring
It seems that one of the best PR stunts that celebrities can pull are those where they claim they are retiring. The actress Rebecca Lim knows this well. Recently, she told her fans that she was retiring. Her exact words were, “Yes, I am retiring. I know you may have questions for me and I will answer them real soon. Meanwhile be happy for me.”
Lim’s fans were taken aback. But just as soon as they got used to the idea of their favorite actress retiring, Lim came back with a video in which she said “Nope I am not leaving my job. I love it too much. I have however signed a retirement plan with NTUC Income. And it is a relief to know that I am saving a little each day for my future.” This kind of publicity for the insurance company did not sit well with Lim’s fans.
1. John Lennon And Yoko Ono
In 1970, the activist Michael X contacted John Lennon and Yoko Ono asking if they would be interested in supporting the Black House, a home for disadvantaged teenagers and young adults. The Lennons agreed to help Michael X out.
But the Lennons weren’t going to go the usual route of donating money. Instead, they decided to barter their recently cut off hair for Muhammad Ali’s boxing shorts. The hair was to be auctioned off and the raised money was to go to the Black House. And the boxing shorts were to be used for raising money for the Lennons peace campaign. John Lennon, Yoko Ono and Malcolm X gave a press conference on February 4th, 1970.
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