Brand stunts seem to be growing and getting more and more creative. Why? A clever brand stunt flawlessly executed can create lots of buzz and that means unlimited free publicity via news organizations and social media. It can also help invigorate a brand in a way that paid ads cannot. Plus, if the stunt is recorded, the buzz can continue in video ads and commercials.
Here are some of our favorite brand stunts from 2018:
Drone Dance – For the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea, Intel launched 1,200 lighted drones choreographing them to fly together to form a moving snowboarder, a dove flapping its wings and the Olympic rings. The dancing drones were actually filmed in South Korea in December 2017 and rebroadcast for the event. The drones have been used at other events forming many other shapes including the Intel logo.
Fast Lane – SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket took off earlier this year with an extra payload – a Roadster, an electric sports car built by sister company, Tesla. Strapped inside the red convertible is a mannequin wearing one of SpaceX’s spacesuits. Both of Elon Musk’s brands should get plenty of mileage from the stunt as the car is expected to orbit the sun for hundreds of millions of years.
Whopper of a Deal – To get customers to download their app, Burger King enticed them with a one cent whopper. The catch: they had to be in close proximity of a McDonald’s to activate the coupon. Why? Well it creates more buzz when you clog your rival’s parking lots and cause confusion as some customers mistakenly asked for the penny Whopper at McDonald’s. Maybe McDonald’s should have countered by offering a Big Mac for a penny – after downloading their app of course.
Win Diesel – Part of Diesel’s “Go with the Flow” campaign created by Publicis New York, the clothing brand opened a one-off store in an area of Manhattan known for offering cheap fakes of well-known brand names. To make sure customers thought the items were truly knock-offs, the T-shirts, hats and jeans were labeled with Diesel misspelled as “Deisel”.
But all of the clothing items were genuine Diesel products made in their manufacturing plant in Italy and sent to the pop-up shop on Canal Street. The store was only open for two days, but the company recorded customer interactions at the store and will feature them in an ad campaign making the prank a long term win for Diesel.
Priceless Payless Prank – Like Diesel, Payless Shoes opened a fake store, but it went in the opposite direction. Payless created a high-end, fashion shoe store brand in a posh Los Angeles neighborhood with an Italian sounding and brilliant name that played off their own; “Palessi”.
Dozens of VIP fashion “influencers” from around LA were invited to Palessi’s private “grand opening”. Actual sales were recorded (to be used later in commercials) showing the fashionista’s exclaiming about the high quality and style of the footwear. Many paid as much as $645 for shoes that Payless normally sold for $19.99 to $39.99. The duped buyers were informed of the prank soon afterward and received full refunds. They got to keep the shoes along with a few scuffs on their reputations.