PR Stunts: Normal Isn’t Exciting, Crazy Is!

Crazy is the New Normal everything-pr

It’s not news that people are drawn to the crazy, bizarre, and spectacular. We always have been. I imagine some of our predecessors who didn’t survive the prehistoric age probably got distracted by a pretty dinosaur show or man-eating blossom and ended up dinner (it could happen, we don’t know what the world was exactly like back then now do we?). I’m not sure why we find crazy and spectacular so enthralling. We seem to get bored rather easily as a species.

What I do wonder is do other species need to be as entertained and surprised as we do? I doubt it. Maybe it’s simply because we aren’t active enough these days (too much time spent in chairs at computers) – no more chasing around through the forest with spears, bow and arrow, or shotguns just to ensure we have meat for dinner. Maybe we’d be less bored if we all had no choice but to hunt, grow and harvest all of our own food, rather than get it at the local Tesco.

We can’t help it. We seem to require entertainment these days, no more than ever. And if you want to get noticed these days, you need to do something at least a little crazy.

The following are a few random stunts that have resulted in successful marketing or publicity. These are some of my favourites:

Laundry Runner

Want to raise money for a good cause? Wear something crazy and run in the London Marathon. This is what Pete Digby did in 2011’s Marathon. He wore an 80 lb washing machine on his back while he ran, in order to raise funds for the Afghan Trust.

I’ve heard laundry included in a list of chores not so affectionately called “back-breaking” but never would I have thought I’d see someone opting to carry a washing machine on their back. First of all, washing machines are heavy. Second of all, washing machines… are heavy! But according to Peter Digby, washing machines are good race companions, and a good source of publicity! Digby and his washing machine were definitely noticed by the crowds.

He managed to raise over £4000!

The Iron Man

: Recently a, probably rather bored, man decided to do his ironing on the M1 while it was closed… and then film it (a very risky tactic considering he was trespassing). Now referred to as the “Iron Man” he gained temporary stardom and was interviewed on several talk shows and was featured in newspaper articles (both on and offline).

He even managed to advertise his own screenplay on live TV (despite being interrupted by the talk show hosts). It is a great, happy accident all from just a bit of fun on a boring day (I imagine some of the best videos of these kind start this way).

Where the Hell is Matt

: This one’s not new, but it’s one of my favourite. A guy named Matt Harding started doing a silly dance in random cities. Ultimately he ended up getting sponsored to do his silly dance in many places all around the world.

The video is phenomenal not least of which because it’s so popular and you have to admit, pretty darn cute. But he made (and I think still makes) money at this!

What would you do for a little notoriety for you, your company, or a good cause? It seems some people would do pretty much anything. Sometimes it can be just plain embarrassing. But can you guarantee fame? Or does the fame happen by accident? There doesn’t seem to be a particular formula for a successful viral or publicity campaign, other than if you do something crazy it’s more likely you’ll get noticed.

What are some of your favorite publicity stunts, viral videos or other stories?

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