PR Week notes that many successful brand and PR campaigns now involve flashy stunts. But do they achieve communications objectives?
There seem to be a lot of big, visual, ready-to-go stunts cropping up in brands’ communications plans. Bathstore.com created a chocolate bath, a box of Krisy Kreme doughnuts containing 45,000 calories was served up, donkey rides on Blackpool beach now accept contactless payment. These all reached the public’s consciousness and were widely shared on social media. Why did these stunts work for brands and why did so many other well-intentioned ones fail to gain cut-through? PR Week suggests three reasons.
First, you have to work really hard to create a great idea, not just a tactic but something with a place in the strategy. Just because it is easy to share a stunt with the whole world doesn’t mean that you should, so the PR Week argument goes. Second, is the stunt so good that people will voluntarily share it with others either in person or on social media? The ice bucket challenge is a good example of this. Is the stunt simple enough to explain? Is its connection to the brand strong enough to be remembered? Brand marketers want the connection to be remembered, not just the stunt. Third, and most important, does the stunt tell a story that is key to the brand? The contactless payment for the donkey rides made the point that this type of payment is now becoming universally accepted. The world’s biggest box of doughnuts was there to illustrate that the brand now caters for meetings and corporate events.