Large Scale Stunts: Go Big or Go Home
As an experience builder, you may think publicity stunts are the lazy marketer’s promotion tactic. But done right, large scale stunts are highly effective and generate lots of organic buzz. Generally speaking, the size of the stunt directly correlates with its impact—big exploits are likely to lead to big results. Following is a look at four large scale stunts that make the grade.
Ahead of the Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom premiere, Amazon boosts awareness of the film by doing what it does best—delivering a package. But this is no ordinary parcel. To drive some serious buzz, the Amazon transports a 16,000 lb. Amazon box that features Jurassic World branding and what can only be described as “breathing holes” to Los Angeles’ The Grove. The box is flanked by a motorcade of over a dozen SUVs and Jurassic-branded Jeep Wranglers (featured in the film) as it makes its way to the iconic L.A. hotspot. To add to the experience, the package emits a variety of dinosaur audio sounds. Meanwhile, social influencers amplify the stunt with real-time content posts. Once on site, the mysterious package sits unopened for two days. The campaign culminates in a dramatic live event featuring the film’s stars, Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt, “unboxing” the package—a massive dinosaur statue. The campaign generates over ten million impressions and garners national attention from a host of news outlets.
While Amazon’s campaign features a large physical component, Sixt Rent-a-Car’s New York City stunt features a large geographical component. Sixt, a German company, draws attention to its first New York location, by rebranding Manhattan’s high-traffic Sixth Ave. as“Sixt” Avenue for a day. Orange Sixt banners are fastened to street signs while a fleet of ten luxurious Cadillacs driven by brand ambassadors cruise the avenue. The fleet makes its way through the city stopping at iconic locations to interact with consumers along the way. To build buzz with digital audiences, the program is recorded by a film crew and drone photographer. Key moments are captured including the ten car lineup pulling off of Sixth Ave.
The high-profile stunt ultimately pays off. “Sixt Avenue allows us to engage with New Yorkers in a fun and unique way and it allowed us to show the concierge-level service that we have while also showing our product, our premium cars,” says Maarten Ordelman, Head of U.S. Marketing for Sixt.
When it comes to large scale stunts, the sky isnot the limit—at least for SpaceX, a space exploration company founded by Tesla’s Elon Musk. The brand literally sends its largest rocket, Falcon Heavy, into space with a 2008 Tesla Roadster “driven” by an astronaut suit wearing “starman” as its payload. The launch illustrates the brand’s ability to transport cargo, and eventually humans to Mars. Of course, stunts of this size aren’t in the budget for the majority of event marketers, but, the concept of leveraging a buzz-worthy experience that simultaneously offers consumers a glimpse of something rare is an attainable strategy. In the case of SpaceX, one of the biggest draws is a live stream that offers stunning views of the Earth seen from space.
There’s nothing quite like the passion of avid sports fans. Bud Light taps into that fervor with a stunt strategy for the ages. With the Cleveland Browns coming off of an 0-16 season in 2017, fans don’t have much to look forward to as the 2018 season approaches. Bud Light, a sponsor of both the NFL and the Browns, changes all of that by planting “Victory Fridges” at establishments located all across Cleveland. Each refrigerator is chained shut and unlocks for only one reason—a Browns victory. Once the Browns win, the fridges are unlocked and fans get free beer. Each unit holds about 200 aluminum 16 oz. bottles of Bud Light. Fans finally earn their moment of glory. In September the Browns defeat the Jets, end a 635-day losing streak and unlock cold brews for fans all across the city.
Large scale stunts require more planning, but, not necessarily bigger budgets. Experiential solutions that create relevant, big brand moments drive fan affinity. And fans love to spread the word about things they love. Cha-ching!