From Beyoncé flash mobs to bunnies running amok in a hotel, the following are some of the best ways professional PR services get us all talking about their brands.
10. The Ibis bunnies
Ibis Hotels let 40 cuddly bunnies have the run of one of their rooms, where they promptly curled up together on the bed and drifted off to sleep. Heavy on the cute factor, it also got us associating the words “fluffy” and “soft” with a good night’s sleep in an Ibis hotel.
9. The Virgin Atlantic bench
Virgin Atlantic took over a bench in Manhattan and treated any passerby who happened to sit on it to the full “Virgin Atlantic experience” – including champagne, fine dining, movies and video games.
8. Trident gum Single Ladies
When Trident gum ran a competition giving away tickets to a Beyoncé gig, they promoted it with a flash mob of leotard-clad, high heel-wearing girls - all doing the Single Ladies dance slap-bang in the middle of Piccadilly Circus. The stunt got over 8 million views on YouTube.
7. Blair Witch Project “documentary”
By creating hype that suggested it was a “real footage” documentary, the makers of the Blair Witch Project turned a movie that cost US$22,000 to make into a blockbuster that scooped almost $250 million at the box office.
6. LAN Airlines free tickets to restaurant diners
When LAN Airlines wanted to promote their new South American routes, they chose all the diners in a New York restaurant to be the lucky recipients of tickets to any of their destinations in South America.
5. “Ugly” virus on Beautiful People website
A dating website aimed at attractive people claimed it had been hacked by a “Shrek virus”, permitting 30,000 ugly people to join. However, it was nothing more than a very clever PR stunt, generating extra publicity for the site.
4. Virgin Cola: Branson drives tank down Fifth Avenue
To promote the launch of his Virgin Cola brand, Richard Branson drove an army tank down New York’s Fifth Avenue to symbolise the declaration of war on rivals Coke and Pepsi.
3. Red Bull – Felix Baumgartner jumps from space
Who else, but the company whose product “gives you wings”, could have sponsored a skydiver’s leap from the edge of space? The jump broke the record for the world’s highest-ever freefall and was a stroke of PR genius by Red Bull.
2. Virgin Atlantic – BA can’t get it up
Here they are again, the PR masters who’ve already featured twice. When the London Eye, famously sponsored by British Airways, encountered technical difficulties that prevented it from going up, Virgin Atlantic were quick to get a giant blimp to hover over it with the message, “British Airways can’t get it up.”
1. The best job in the world
A competition to win the best job in the world proved to be the ultimate PR stunt. Run by the Queensland tourism authorities, the competition dominated social media and online discussion boards and ultimately generated millions of pounds in publicity value.