How do you organize a successful PR stunt? 13 nov 2017

PR is a powerful tool that can be used to get attention towards a subject in a constructive manner, to increase brand awareness or to manage perception. Are you planning to use a PR stunt within the next two months to promote you product or idea? Use this blog as a basic guideline to make sure you have a good starting point to work from. 

This special way of marketing is beloved by audiences, it often creates a buzz on social media and a lot of media attention, but how do you make sure that your stunt is successful? 

Gotcha would love to help you with setting up such a PR stunt. As you can see in one of our earliest blogs, we’ve conducted a successful PR stunt ourselves during the Canal Parade in Amsterdam. By using hundreds of beach balls with fitting prints, Gotcha contributed to the festivities of the parade. Many Dutch celebrities such as Ed Nijpels, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, Willeke Alberti and Louis van Gaal were enthusiastic about Gotcha’s stunt. In sum a very successful promotional activity that resulted in a picture on the front of the renowned Dutch newspaper ‘de Telegraaf’.

This brings us to the question what actually is a ‘PR stunt’ and what does it entail? “PR” stands for “Public Relations” and, as its name indicates, concerns itself with improving and increasing contact with customers. Companies often use a lot of humour because people like to watch things that they enjoy. There is one thing you should always keep in mind though: a successful PR stunt can never be guaranteed. Additionally, you shouldn’t exclusively use a PR stunt as a way of communicating a message. After all, what is news to you, might not be news to the rest of the country. Therefore, it is best to use a PR stunt as a part of an integrated communication strategy. 

Organising a successful PR stunt isn’t done by simply executing the stunt. As mentioned before, a PR stunt is most successful when it is part of an integrated strategy. In order to prepare you for organising a stunt, we advise you to take the following things into account:

Always make sure that your stunt is relevant, this usually means that it in some way relates to or plays with current topics or a certain context. Secondly, make sure that you’re not just doing a stunt, in order to stunt, your actions must be coming forth from the interests and needs of the consumer. High quality imagery and following-up in case of hard news play an important role. Also make sure that the stunt always fits your brand, product and/or service. 

Another facet to keep in mind is timing. Pay attention to weather forecasts in case you have something planned outdoor. Don’t use sensitive topics to early as this might not be received well. PR stunts usually don’t target a specific audience. If you make your audience too specific it might be hard to reach them with your stunt and thus a very specific audience makes it even more difficult to make your stunt a success. 
The last point on our list is commonly referred to as ‘Grandma’s Recipe’. It’s said that it ‘always’ works and includes the following three ingredients: rude, salacious and funny. If you want to go for this approach make sure you don’t end up being goody-two-shoes. For this to work you must go for very rude, extremely salacious and hilariously funny. 

Another thing that is often utilised is a ‘hoax’, also known as spreading fake news. In this case established media get fooled into believing something in order to create more brand awareness. Using this technique often creates a ‘shock’-effect because fake news offers an endless amount of scenarios that actual news doesn’t provide. A hoax can create a lot of media attention but at the same time can also have negative side effects. Therefore you have to make sure that your brand image and message don’t get lost in all the commotion created by the hoax. 

A good PR stunt can never be guaranteed, but you can make sure that you did everything within your power by keeping our main pointers in mind: relevance, quality, needs, timing and target audience. If you keep these things in mind and use a healthy dosage of humour, a successful PR stunt might just be in the cards for you.