You’re here because you’re asking, “What is a PR stunt?”
-Cassidy Landaker Jr. PR Account Executive
In technical terms, a PR stunt is a public relations exercise that aims to get members of the public to develop a good opinion of and bring awareness to a person, product, or brand. A well-planned and executed PR stunt can generate incredible amounts of interest and elevate your reputation.
IHOP changing its name to IHOB. Payless Shoes taking over a former Armani store and selling “upscale” shoes from “Palessi.” McDonald’s flipping its iconic golden arch from “M” to “W” in honor of International Women’s Day. These are all wonderful examples of PR stunts, and each of these PR stunts worked well. Want another great example? Check out the Robbins Brothers Proposal Ambassador orchestrated by yours truly, Serendipit Consulting. It’s just hit the pages of People magazine, too!
You may also be here because you’re asking yourself, “Does a PR stunt make sense for my business?”
Members of our PR team frequently ask this question, too. Before we even begin to pursue the next big breakthrough, we have to ask ourselves, “Would a PR stunt make sense for this client?” We don’t want to do it just to do it; we want it to be impactful. While there isn’t really an industry that a PR stunt wouldn’t work for, there are criteria to consider when making the decision:
- Are they doing anything noteworthy at the moment?
- If they aren’t doing anything new or noteworthy, can we create something new or unusual?
- Is there currently a trending or hot topic within their respective industry or among their target audience we could reference or play off of?
- Has anyone else in their industry, or a competitor, recently launched a PR stunt/campaign?
- Would a PR stunt have a positive impact on the brand or business?
- Is a PR stunt something that aligns with the brand’s mission and KPIs?
- Is this the right time to launch a PR stunt (financially, morally, ethically)?
- Why do we want to plan/execute a PR stunt?
If we can answer with logical reasoning and develop an idea of what the stunt would look like, then the answer is yes, a PR stunt does make sense! So, ask yourself the above, and if you too can answer with logical reasoning and pre-plan what a PR stunt may look like for your business, then you are ready for a PR stunt.
Do keep in mind though, if a PR stunt goes wrong, it can damage the brand and tarnish everyone associated with it. Proceed with caution, but plenty of creativity. Good luck!