There’s nothing quite like a good stunt to turn heads and drive buzz. As consumers’ schedules become increasingly cluttered and their attention spans continue to shrink, stunts are a viable way for brands to boost awareness and start conversations. But it’s not just about making a big splash. Event marketers are finding ways to drive home their messaging and showcase their spirit through clever, well-timed strategies. Take a look at the following tips for improving your stunt savvy.
Infuse cultural relevance
Stunts are designed to generate buzz in their own right, but add a little cultural relevance and their impact has the potential to skyrocket. Take Coca-Cola Israel’s selfie bottle, for instance, which was created to promote the brand’s outdoor Summer Love event. The company attached a camera-equipped base to a 500-milliliter bottle of Coke to create “the world’s first selfie bottle,” which captured consumers guzzling the beverage. The contraption automatically took photos when it detected a 70-degree tilt, and allowed the user to transfer photos through its USB port. The idea was to get younger consumers to share the experience socially. Selfies, social media and technology? You bet millennials spread the word.
Leverage the element of surprise
Stunts surprise people by design, but incorporating an extra dose of shock makes for a memorable (and highly shareable) experience. That was Xfinity’s approach to help promote its Gig internet service. The brand worked with Universal Pictures to deliver a “drive-out” cinema stunt that leveraged the connection between the “Fast and Furious” franchise and the speed of Xfinity’s new service.
The brands initially surprised two “Fast and Furious” fans with the opportunity to view the premiere of the franchise’s latest flick, “The Fate of the Furious,” from inside decked-out cars as part of a “contest.” But on the day of the big film reveal, the pair was given the shock of a lifetime as their viewing experience quickly turned into a hair-raising obstacle course. In replica cars from the movies, stunt drivers mimicked scenes from the movie, like crashing through a flower shop and through falling scaffolding, as the fans screamed along in the passenger seat. The result: 1.4 million video views within 24 hours.
Tap into current events
As many TV aficionados can attest to, Lifetime has no shortage of original content. So when it came time to leverage a live experience to promote its programming, the network had plenty of material to select from. The brand ultimately chose to execute a stunt to promote its upcoming film, “Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance” about the marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. The stunt in question: A corgi royal wedding. Yes, you read that right. Lifetime enlisted a team of adorable dogs, dressed them up in formalwear and presented them as members of the royal family for anyone in New York City’s Herald Square to enjoy—a wise decision. By designing its experience around a current event, the network was able to tap into the existing hype surrounding it, and as a result, generate more buzz of its own.
Don’t be afraid to go all-out
Many stunts tend to be simple and short-lived, the goal being to create a big impact without the big spend. But more elaborate stunts are beginning to crop up—and they’re paying for themselves. Consider Netflix, which promoted its “Altered Carbon” series about humans who have the ability to transfer their minds from body to body (referred to in the show as “sleeves”) through a multi-day activation at CES. The stunt centered on the technology company from the program, Psychasec, which was presented as a real brand. Netflix set up a faux Psychasec booth complete with display cases featuring realistic-looking human bodies, lotion samples for “sleeve” upkeep, body bags and even fake brand ambassadors touting the company’s services.
But that wasn’t all. To add to the hype, Netflix staged fake protests against Psychasec and its “controversial” technology outside the convention center. Actors handed out pamphlets and other materials boycotting the fictional company and driving consumers to social media with the call to action #psychasec. The brand took the stunt a step further by vandalizing its own booth with anti-Psychasec posters following the protests. Talk about no holds barred.
One of the appeals of executing a stunt is that the rules of standard brand activations don’t necessarily apply. The idea is to stop consumers in their tracks, so don’t hold back—big, bold, out-of-box concepts are how the best stunts are born.
Check out brand activations and sponsorships designed and produced by Sparks.