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Great PR Stunts . . . and How To Pull Them

By Jon Kirk

A well-executed PR stunt is a joy to behold. It grabs the media spotlight with both hands and generates immediate (and, if you’re lucky, on-going) brand exposure. But orchestrating a successful PR stunt – that is, one that earns notoriety, secures column inches and leads to product sales – isn’t easy.

It’s tempting to think BIG and to plough a significant chunk of the marketing budget into their creation. But the cost and man hours required to do so rarely represent a worthwhile ROI. What’s more, they run the very real risk of overshadowing the brand behind them.

The key to an effective PR stunt, then, is to be creative but to keep things simple. I’ve been involved in the orchestration of well over 100 PR stunts, coups and “zany” (but true) stories for Palamedes’ clients, most of which cost little but led to regional, national and international coverage. Here’s a few (rather high-profile) examples…

 

WURST CASE SCENARIO

A builder became the first person in Britain to undergo counselling after developing an addiction – to SAUSAGES.

Palamedes revealed how barmy Bertie Pescod, then 43, shelled out almost £5,000 battling his bizarre habit, which sees him eat up to 13 bangers per DAY. He was spending up to two hours a week in the quack’s chair and even tried hypnosis to “break the spell”.

But married David, from southeast London, admitted that he was no closer to “freeing” himself from the addiction.

 

BIG MISTAKE

Talk about a massive slipper-up…

Palamedes broke the story about Joe Boddingham, the chap who received a 7ft slipper in the post.

Shocked Joe, then 27, ordered a special slipper to fit his oversized left foot. He had expected to receive a size 13 slipper for his right foot and a size 14.5 for his left. But manufacturers in China failed to spot the decimal point and mistakenly made a size 1,450, or XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXL.

The gigantic slipper, sent directly from Hong Kong, measured 210 x 130 x 65cms, or 6 feet 10 inches – the same length as a grizzly bear or small family car.

 

WATCH THIS SPACE

British boffins are boldly going where no one has gone before by creating a Google Street View-type video – of the MOON.

Palamedes told how they plan to map up to three square miles of the lunar surface and create an online ‘virtual tour’ of the Sea of Tranquillity – the spot Neil Armstrong and Apollo 11 touched down in 1969.

The video will be shot using a specially-designed camera capable of withstanding the extreme temperatures in outer space. Experts claimed it will bring the moon “closer than ever before” by allowing armchair astronauts to explore its surface from the comfort of their own home.

The company behind it admitted the concept is still in the early stages and that it could take up to five years to bring the idea to fruition. But it is already in discussions with NASA and other space agencies, and claims there is “no doubt” that it will become a reality by 2016.

 

FIRING ON ALL CYLINDERS

It gives ”fill her up” a whole new meaning…

Palamedes revealed how British petrol stations will be putting more lead into motorists’ pumps by selling the cheapest over-the-counter alternative – to VIAGRA. A boost of ‘Ubangalala’ will cost just £1 and could be available in all the major forecourts.

The tablets contain an extract of a South African shrub of the same name, which Zulu warriors have chewed for centuries as an
aphrodisiac. Previous research suggests ubangalala – dubbed the ‘African Viagra’ – may hold the key to impotence.

 

EYES OF THE BEER HOLDER

Palamedes discovered that two-thirds of single women go out on the town with uglier pals in a bid to make themselves look more attractive and improve the odds of finding a date.

Almost 60 per cent rely on one or more ‘Fringers’ – friends who are mingers – to accompany them on nights out.

Unsurprisingly, ugly sidekicks are never told the real reason why they were invited, according to a survey by no-strings dating site, LocalSin.com.

 

HIGH ACHIEVER

A woman with a ”super severe” phobia of flying was considering tying the knot abroad after taking lessons – as a PILOT.

Palamedes revealed how Sam Hodgetts, then 24, was so afraid of air travel that she refused to marry boyfriend Nicholas Saad, then 32, in Greece last year.

She broke out into cold sweats at the mere thought of flying, and suffered a panic attack on her first, and only, flight in 2000.

But Sam conquered her fear by mastering the controls – of a Boeing 737. With the help of a flight simulator, she learned how to take off and navigate, and how to prevent the ”unthinkable” – a crash landing.

Sam, who considers herself ”well and truly cured” of her phobia, has finally agreed to an overseas wedding. And incredibly, she is even considering swapping her job as a beauty therapist for an air stewardess.

Until next time,

JK

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