The art of the digital PR stunt
The world wide web is, by its very nature, a place of excess and sensory overload. When the average surfer finds themselves being bombarded with every kind of stimuli imaginable, it is perfectly reasonable to expect that they will get a little jaded. Luckily for consumers, this just forces businesses to get more and more creative when it comes to their marketing strategies, in order to catch (and more importantly, keep) people’s attention. Below are some of the most novel, innovative and bizarre publicity stunts that have hit the web this year.
Kraft Mac & Cheese Say “Thanks”
Social media is no longer an option when it comes to businesses engaging with their customers – it is an absolute necessity. And while Kraft Mac & Cheese aren’t exactly lacking in brand awareness, they still got creative with the medium and had a little fun. In a seven minute acapella music video (titled “Likeapella”), the brand did a shout out to the 4,800 fans who had “Liked” a previous post, proving that you can sustain an excellent relationship with clients who are already loyal, while providing entertainment value to the rest of your user base.
Kraft seem to have sparked a new trend; in the weeks after the “Likeapella” video dropped, the American mobile phone service provider AT&T churned out over 500 individual “thank you” videos to their customers.
We’ve all heard of search engine optimisation, but U.S. House of Representatives candidate Eddie Gonzalez has taken the concept to a whole new level by legally changing his name to VoteForEddie.com. His justification is that, as all candidates require their names to be printed on election ballots, his will be instantly recognisable.
It is certainly a unique way of raising awareness for your political campaign. Gonzalez has stated; “Since I’m not under the wings or good graces of both political parties, I had to find a different way to get my message out there.”
Recruiters Ask You To “Call Me Maybe”
Carly Rae Jepsen’s bubblegum pop ballad has been parodied in countless YouTube videos and covered by everybody from Katy Perry to the Cookie Monster , but when a PR firm in New Jersey decided to film their own take on the song, it wasn’t simply to have a little fun. They hoped instead to harness the power of “Call Me Maybe” for recruitment purposes. The video showed the staff of the company miming and dancing to the song, whilst enjoying a “typical” day at the office.
Naturally it’s hardly surprising that a PR firm was able to come up with a creative PR stunt, but it does highlight the significance of good timing in marketing. Credit card provider Capital One promptly cashed in on Alec Baldwin’s spat with American Airlines by parodying the dispute in a televised ad starring Baldwin himself. Gossip, memes and pop culture offer a potential goldmine of marketing material, but their constantly changing nature means it is more important than ever to have your finger on the pulse, and strike while the iron is hot.