Alister's tHOUGHTs ON... PR stunts

What’s your favourite PR stunt? Perhaps more interestingly, why is it your favourite stunt? Was it clever? Outrageous? Beautifully simple in its execution?

As a tactic to generate a quick hit of media coverage, the PR stunt is unrivalled. Whether it’s sticking a giant Jeff Goldblum up on the South Bank, or unveiling  your illegally branded underpants after scoring a goal, there’s something satisfying about seeing a well-executed stunt garner reems of coverage.

Like all great examples of storytelling, PR campaigns are all about drawing an emotional response from an audience. A stunt can draw out a range of emotions in a second, from shock, outrage and amusement all the way through to delight and sadness.

A stunt’s place in a new comms world

However, PR and comms are disciplines which extend far beyond media relations. In an era of integrated campaigns and demonstrating ROI, is the stunt now a homage to a bygone era where success was simply measured by the amount of coverage you got? Are stunts, dare I say, old-fashioned?

That’s certainly not a question I can answer, but thankfully, we’ve got two agency leaders who can shed some light on where PR stunts sit in the new comms landscape.

Rich Leigh, founder of Radioactive PR, is such a lover of PR stunts that he set up a website to chronicle them; He’s also produced some stunts of his own, including this advertisement on a bin lorry which mimics the infamous Vote Leave bus.

Tin Man founder and CEO Mandy Sharp centres her agency on communicating across disciplines with heart. They’re also not averse to running imaginative stunts, including the Buckets of hope activation for Wateraid and placing a giant fatberg on the South Bank for healthcare service Thriva.

The pair join us for our latest webinar - Big, loud and… old-fashioned? The PR stunt’s place in 2019 – where we’ll explore the future of the stunt. Our guests will discuss how you come up with a good stunt, how you can use stunts as part of a wider campaign and, of course, whether it’s ever appropriate to float something down the Thames!

You can sign up for this PR stunt masterclass by using the button below. I hope you’ll join us on Wednesday 11 September at 3pm, it’s promises to be a fascinating discussion!

P.S. For all of those wondering, my favourite PR stunt is Sony Music floating a Michael Jackson statue down the Thames to promote his new album. Any stunt which creates a whole genre must be at the top!

About Alister Houghton

Alister writes about the PR and comms industry as content marketing manager at Cision. Send press releases, interview pitches, Inside the Campaign/PR case study examples and thought leadership pieces to

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