Elements in Successful Publicity Stunts

Having a nicely done stunt to spread the words about it and increase its brand awareness among consumers is probably what every brand wants. However, sometimes the efforts don’t bring the desired effect as expected. It’s challenging, but once it succeeds, the stunt can bring enormous free publicity to a brand. That’s why businesses always want to know how to do it right. The easiest solution would be finding a good agency to handle this, but if you don’t have the budget, you can get some inspirations from the following key elements and examples.

Be Bold

Being unexpected can always catch attentions.

Calendar Girls


It was a stunt in 1999 that Women’s Institute in UK created a calendar featuring the nude women to raise money for charity. The women in the calendar were obscure by bread, cakes and flowers. Their bold move brought a storm to the world in 2000 that 800,000 calendars were sold all over the world.          

Current events

Utilizing current events to create a stunt could be a tough challenge for the agility of a business and its agency. Here’s a classic one.

BA can’t get it up


Virgin Atlantic really had a flair on mocking its rival, British Airways, to its own gain. British Airways was having some construction problems with London Eye. A Virgin Atlantic branded airship robbed all the BA's press with a cheeky message just like that. It was entertaining for the public, but probably not so funny for British Airline.

Social issue

Social issue can resonate people with the cause they stand for. When the brand does it right, it can bring the stunt to a different level and do meaningful things.



Folkoperan is an opera house in Sweden. It promoted its new show by bringing one of the themes in the show to our real life. The opera house had the opera actors pretend as homeless people with a board writing their name and the 2 free tickets they were offering. This stunt was more than just promoting the show. It also exposed the issue that how the vulnerable groups are ignored in society. The first 2 free tickets were given out after 12 hours the campaign started.

The Pride Whopper


Burger King launched a gay pride Whopper that is wrapped in rainbow-coloured wrapping paper, but with the same old Whopper burger inside. The Pride Whopper were sold at the San Francisco location during San Francisco Pride week. With the tagline “Be Your Way,” Burger King is moving itself to be more than the food they serve and become something more meaningful in people’s mind. 


Using celebrities in campaigns and stunts is always popular. It’s hard for people to take their eyes away from the shining celebrities.

I’d Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur


It’s a PR stunt that bring the public’s attention to the cruelty behind fur sales. This campaign can be traced back to 1990s while the recent one got PETA even more famous. PETA had 25 celebrities posed nude for their cause and had attracted lots of attentions to the animal cruelty issue. Despite its success for a justice cause, some feminists weren’t happy with its approach. 

As the digital world prospers, celebrities are not limited to movies stars, singers, politicians or public figures anymore. Influencers on social media are another choice for businesses. They also have strong influence on their followers and fans that businesses cannot ignore.

Sometimes the stunts can start from something as small as wrapping papers, but have to be attractive enough to get people’s attention. Hope these examples can give you some inspiration.

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