On the subject of Publicity Stunt

On January 14th, 2012 James wrote on the subject of Stunt Of The Day.

Activists from Rainforest Action Network and The New Bottom Line affixed non-adhesive protest stickers to some 85 Bank Of America cashpoints throughout San Francisco.

Transaction options include ‘Fund Executive Bonuses’ and ‘Foreclose on America’s Homes.’


On January 12th, 2012 James wrote on the subject of Stunt Of The Day.

Zambia’s tourism minister makes a bungee jump as a reassurance of the sport’s safety after a 22 year old Australian woman’s bungee cord snapped during a jump over the Zambesi River on the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia.

via Channel 4 News


On January 12th, 2012 James wrote on the subject of Stunt Of The Day.

Waterstone’s announces it is phasing out the apostrophe in its logo because it is no longer ‘practical’ in the age of the internet and email addresses.

But, reports The Daily Mail, the move sparked outrage among customers and punctuation experts who insist that the apostrophe should remain.

John Richards, chairman of the Apostrophe Protection Society said: ‘It’s just plain wrong. It’s grammatically incorrect.’

In other Waterstones news – we’re loving this new Twitter feed from Waterstones Oxford Street – with a stream of excellent lit-wit like this.


On January 11th, 2012 James wrote on the subject of Stunt Of The Day.

McDonald’s are hoping to score some points with parents by replacing the usual plastic toy in a Happy Meal with a book.

The burger chain will give out 9 million Mudpuddle Farm books, written by Michael Morpurgo, over the next four weeks, having signed a tie-up with publisher Harper Collins.

The Daily Telegraph reports that this “is the latest attempt by McDonald’s to improve its reputation, following the decision to sell only organic milk, print calories on its menu boards, and refurbish all of its outlets.”


When Publicity Stunts Go Wrong!

On September 7th, 2009 James wrote on the subject of Comment.

A great PR stunt can work wonders - gaining a huge amount of coverage and demonstrating artistry that rivals traditional advertising  for both creativity and return on investment.

On the flipside, a lame attempt can taint the whole industry. The bad news is that that the history of the PR profession is littered with examples where bad timing, crass ideas and poor planning have resulted in more damage and negative headlines than good publicity.

Today the Swedish Telecoms company Tele2 has today lost a government contract following a publicity stunt which spectacularly backfired. (source: CNN)

The incident involving a hoax meteorite, made headlines around the world on Monday after rescue authorities said a fiery object had created a large crater in a field near the Estonian border. Scientists rushed to the scene to investigate, while rescue, police and military units cordoned off the area and tested for radioactivity.

Tele2 admitted that it staged a meteorite crash in the Latvian countryside, resulting in a 10-metre wide crater.
Vita Sirica, a spokeswoman for the Latvian branch of Tele2, said the stunt was co-ordinated with a PR firm “to draw attention away from Latvia’s economic crisis and toward something else more interesting”.

“The Interior Ministry doesn’t want to do business with a firm that promotes itself at our expense,” Interior Minister Linda Murniece told the LNT news channel.

The company has said it will reimburse the government over any expenses incurred by the stunt.

Here’s a top 10 of PR stunts gone bad – read them and take note!

 1) Manhattan Skyline Flyover


The American government scared Manhattanites silly by staging a photo-opp flyover featuring an F-16 fighter and a passenger jet over New York. The sight of the planes whizzing past the Statue of Liberty and the lower Manhattan financial district sent panicked office workers streaming into the streets fearing a repeat of 9/11.

The precise origins and thinking behind the government public relations stunt remain clouded in mystery however the taxpayer bill for the plane flight over Manhattan was reported to be $328,835. A White House aide lost their job over this.

2) The Coolest Seats in Town


In August 2001 the Birmingham-based radio station BRMB came up with a whizzer competition mechanic to put most bad PR ideas in the shade.

The ‘Coolest Seats in Town’ contest to win gig tickets required those who entered to see who could sit the longest on solid carbon dioxide, otherwise known as dry ice.

The stunt which was staged in the heart of the Birmingham certainly provided a media spectacle as the organisers failed to take into account the simple fact that ice can burn – and burn it did, as four people were sent to hospital for treatment for serious injuries.

An HSE spokesman said that several members of the public who took part suffered loss of skin, fat and muscle, as well as permanent and disfiguring loss of an area of tissue.

The dry ice on which they sat was at -78C (-108F). The three women and one man who were taken to hospital had severe frostbite; three of them remained in hospital for between eight and 10 weeks.

3) Nipplegate


Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake’s performance during the half time section of the 2004 Superbowl featured suggestive dance moves by both singers culminating in Timberlake pulling off a part of Jackson’s costume, revealing her right breast, partially covered by a nipple ring, for nine-sixteenths of a second.

In the immediate aftermath of the incident, the CBS broadcast cut to an aerial view of the stadium but was unable to do so before the picture was sent to millions of viewers’ televisions resulting in a record-breaking two hundred thousand Americans contacting the network to complain, saying it was inappropriate in the context of a football game.

The incident made headlines around the world and while both performers initially stated that the exposure was an accident both would later go on to issue public apologies for the incident alongside Viacom, the National Football League and halftime show sponsor America Online. Jackson later admitted the stunt was devised beforehand, but “went further than she planned”.

Timberlake famously blamed the incident on a “wardrobe malfunction”.  Subsequently, the NFL announced that MTV, who also produced the halftime show for Super Bowl, would never be involved in another halftime show.

The theme of the halftime show was intended to promote MTV’s Rock the Vote campaign to encourage younger people to get out and vote, but this message was lost in the ensuing controversy. A huge fine was eventually overturned in court – but four years later.

4) A Sorry Tail


Former BA chief executive Bob Ayling decided to remove the ‘stuffy’ union flag tail design from the British Airways fleet in a blaze of publicity in 1997, replacing the iconic design with ‘world colours’ to reflect the airlines ‘cosmopolitan outlook’ and the fact that 60% of BA’s passengers were non-British.

The much-criticized £60m re-branding which featured designs from Delft pottery to Chinese calligraphy was met with a chorus of disapproval from patriotic Brits including the former Prime Minister Lady Thatcher, who claimed they made BA look like a third-world airline. Lady Thatcher famously draped a handkerchief over a model plane with the world colours logo, declaring it “awful” – the footage made news outlets across the world which launched the BA PR department into a tailspin of negative PR.

Following Mr Ayling’s departure BA decided to reinstall the union flag design.

5) Naked Ambition

vodafone-streaker2At a 2002 rugby match between New Zealand and Australia, two streakers caused fury amongst the spectators when they interrupted the game, wearing nothing but the Vodafone logo.

The police were called and duly arrested the streakers before the game was over resulting in the CEO of Vodafone being forced to issue an apology for encouraging the two men to streak through the game–and thus break the law. The company made sure that everyone knew how sorry they were via a $30,000 pound donation to a nonprofit campaign aimed at reducing sports injuries.

6) Disaster On A Stick


During the summer of 2005, the soft drinks brand Snapple hit upon the novel idea of erecting the world’s largest popsicle made of frozen Snapple juice for a PR stunt that would guarantee headlines.

The finished popsicle which was twenty-five feet tall and weighed in at whopping 17.5 tons was erected to much media fanfare in Times Square.

Unfortunately the company didn’t count on the 80-degree weather and the frozen tower melted before a photo call could take place sending kiwi-strawberry-flavored fluid pouring onto the streets of downtown Manhattan and leading firefighters to close off several streets to wash away the sugary goo.

“What was unsettling was that the fluid just kept coming,” Stuart Claxton of the Guinness Book of World Records told the Daily News.

Snapple official Lauren Radcliffe said the company was unlikely to make a second attempt to break the record, set by a 21-foot ice pop in Holland in 1997.

7) Bombs Away


The city of Boston was subjected to a bomb scare in February 2007 thanks to a stunt from the Cartoon Network which quite literally backfired for all concerned. Much of the city was shut down and put on high alert when a mysterious electric package was spotted near a subway. The device had wires coming out of it and was suspected to be a bomb.

The device was one of many that were actually part of a campaign to promote the upcoming Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie. Officials apologized for the incident. The official statement  from the broadcaster pleaded that the packages were actually magnetic lights that posed no real danger and said “We regret that they were mistakenly thought to pose any danger.’

A high ranking city official however claimed that the “devices” were so realistic that a Bomb Technician decided to detonate one rather than take the chance of it being a real bomb.

Two young marketers were arrested for the stunt and the head of the Cartoon Network resigned.

8) Waking The Dead


Cadbury Schweppes – the makers of Doctor Pepper staged a treasure hunt across 23 American cities in a promotion campaign for its “brand of 23 flavours. The company buried coins across the East Coast, promising anyone who found one – a £760,000 cash prize.

So far so good however the agency it hired to bury a coin in Boston, chose the 347-year-old Granary Burying Ground, final resting place of John Hancock, Paul Revere, Samuel Adams and other much-revered historic figures.

The first the city’s parks department knew of its part in the hunt was when contestants, guided there by 30 clues, started complaining last Tuesday that the graveyard was closed because of icy paths. Anxious officials closed the park indefinitely and tried to avert a stampede by finding the coin themselves. It eventually took an official of the marketing firm which had placed it there to find it behind a stone slab covering the entrance to a 200-year-old crypt.

The Boston parks commissioner, Toni Pollak, was withering about the British firm’s choice of location. “It absolutely is disrespectful,” he told the The Boston Globe: “It’s an affront to the people who are buried there, our nation’s ancestors.”

Actual damage to the graveyard was narrowly averted but it was too late – the resulting media frenzy went to town with headlines focusing on the Doctor Pepper treasure hunters aiming to dig up the graves of America’s founding fathers…

9) Flakegate

flakegate1Brit TV presenter Anthea Turner was left reeling from a storm of negative publicity following her marriage to Grant Bovey in 2000. The fallout began when photographs of her wedding reception, published in the magazine OK! in an exclusive deal worth £450,000, showed the couple (apparently) using their wedding to publicise a new Cadbury chocolate bar, Snowflake.

OK! issued the photo to the media with the caption “Anthea Turner and Grant Bovey: exclusive OK! wedding photograph, enjoying Cadbury’s new Snowflake.

The Sun described it as “the most sickening wedding photo ever” while Turner, Bovey, Cadbury’s and OK! all denied that the chocolate was part of a sponsorship deal. Pictures of their wedding and their subsequent honeymoon were in the magazine for the next two weeks.

Turner and Bovey insist that someone had stuck the chocolate bar in her hand and snapped a picture before she knew what was happening.

10) Doing a Ratner….

ratnerGerald Ratner – the British businessman best known as the former chief executive of the major British jewellery company Ratners Group achieved notoriety after making a speech jokingly denigrating its products which caused the company’s near collapse.

Ratner’s shops and their wares were extremely popular with the public, until Ratner made a speech at the Institute of Directors on April 23 1991.

During the speech, he commented: ‘We also do cut-glass sherry decanters complete with six glasses on a silver-plated tray that your butler can serve you drinks on, all for £4.95. People say, “How can you sell this for such a low price?”, I say, “because it’s total crap”.

He compounded this by going on to remark that some of the earrings were “cheaper than an M&S prawn sandwich but probably wouldn’t last as long”. After the speech, the value of the Ratners’ group plummeted by around £500 million, which very nearly resulted in the firm’s collapse.

All the above instances have been sourced via internet research. If you can shed any further light on these notorious events – please do get in touch – peter.mountstevens@taylorherring.com.

Publicity Stunt Parade

On April 1st, 2009 James wrote on the subject of Publicity Stunts,Uncategorized.

Dozens of household brands have invested creative license in the annual April 1, PR stunt parade.

Here’s how Fleet Street performed in today’s April Fools Day tournament…

nefertiti1The Independent say Egyptian queen Nefertiti had a cosmetic surgery. Scientific researchers say they have established that her limestone bust appears to have been given a facelift. Call it ancient world Botox.

Capitalising on the recent expenses scandal the Daily Mail has a photoshop of Home Secretary Jacqui Smith walking out of a branch of sex shop Ann Summers.

The Economist is launching a theme park as ‘part of the wider diversification of its business’.

The Guardian reports that it will become the first newspaper in the world to be published exclusively on Twitter. The move will see all of the paper’s content tailored to fit the format of Twitter’s 140-character text messages.

invisible-carThe Daily Express say that a British inventor has created an invisible car to allow motorists to beat speed cameras.

The Sun tells readers that England fans will have to stand through the world’s longest national anthem – at six and a half minutes – before the World Cup qualifier against Ukraine.

Tartan Sheep - Ewe won't believe your eyes (No it's not an April Fool)The Times features a photograph of a tartan sheep.

The Daily Telegraph claim that harnessing the power of fish swimming through a river could hold the key to meeting Britain’s future electricity needs. It claims Université de Poisson d’Avril in Paris is responsible for trialling the project. Poisson D’ Avril is a French April Fools Day tradition, which involves kids attempting to attach a paper fish to a victim’s back without being noticed.

Other highlights include;

Vodka brand, Russian Standard has created the world’s first ‘lickvert’ (vodka dipped advert).

BMW announce their Magnetic Tow Technology with a series of adverts. “The unique system, developed in conjunction with NASA, works via a discreet unit located in the front valance that projects an enhanced magnetic beam 20 metres in front of the BMW. Once a suitable target car is located and the BMW is magnetically locked on behind it, the driver is then able to take his foot off the accelerator, turn off the engine and let the car in front do all the work. The towing car will not notice any change in manoeuvrability.”

virgin-activeVirgin Active are trialling an ‘animal only’ gym. The move comes off the back of increasing concerns that UK pet owners could be responsible for a worrying epidemic of over-sized animals, ranging from dogs and cats to hamsters, gerbils, rats, rabbits and budgies.

Anchor Butter say Google Street View techonology has captured their cows roaming across London – which is spoiling plans for a new TV advert.

Waitrose boasted of exclusively stocking pinanas, a pineapple/banana hybrid.

walkersWalkers claim the brand will be testing ‘Ready Silent’ quiet crisps in cinemas today. Walkers say the ‘Ready Silent Cri-sshhp’ uses technology that guarantees the same flavour and crunchiness, except it comes already crushed. James Stillman, head of R&D, said: ‘It does come with a plastic serving spoon.

Car polish brand Turtle Wax has created a viral pretending they have improved its CSR poision by ending its battery turtle farming practices.

PD*27874715And finally introducing the ‘hotelicopter‘ the world’s first flying hotel in a converted helicopter. A viral stunt for Yotel.

Check out our Top 50 Publicity Stunts round up by clicking here

Campaign Review: Polar bear let loose on the Thames

On March 20th, 2009 James wrote on the subject of Publicity Stunts.

Polar Bear on The Thamesby Cathy Wallace, PR Week, 18-Mar-09

Campaign: Launching Eden
Client: Eden, the new natural history TV channel
PR team: Taylor Herring
Timescale: January

New natural history channel Eden asked Taylor Herring to create a large-scale visual stunt to draw attention to its launch day.


To raise awareness of the channel launch within the UK media

To show the channel’s core idea

To drive traffic to Eden’s website

To highlight the Fragile Earth series being shown on the channel.

Strategy and Plan

The team wanted a unique image that no-one had ever seen before, or a new twist on a familiar theme.

After long debate the team came up with the idea of an iceberg featuring a stranded polar bear, floating adrift on the River Thames. The idea was to link back to the Fragile Earth series as the stranded polar bear was a potent symbol of global warming, to add relevance to the story.

The scale of the project also merited a series of mini-launches around the country to raise awareness in key UK regions. A design team of 15 artists built the 1.5 tonne, 20ft sculpture in just six weeks. A launch press release was prepared and included a quote from Sir David Atten borough, who presents many of Eden’s key programmes.

Dry runs were held to make sure the shoot would work. On 26 January at 6am, the sculpture was winched into place on the Thames, where it began its journey from Greenwich in south east London to the Houses of Parliament.

After the stunt the bear was sent on a tour of UK cities including Birmingham, Leeds and Glasgow.

Measurement and evaluation

Within hours, photos of the bear had app eared on every daily national newspaper’s website and that evening it featured in all the London newspapers, including a double-page spread in the Evening Standard. The launch was also covered on 50 separate websites. The following day it appeared in The Sun, Metro, The Times, Daily Star, Daily Mail, The Independent, The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph as well as key regional newspapers. The story has since appeared in magazines OK! and Ecologist and in int­ernational publications including the New York Post and the Brisbane Times.

Online, 80 per cent of sites running the story carried a link to the Eden website. Behind-the-scenes film footage has had more than 50,000 hits on YouTube.

The sculpture has now been donated to Edinburgh Zoo. It is thought more than one million people will go to see the bear
in its first year.


The campaign reached more than 260million people and the figure is still growing. Following the stunt, web traffic to Eden’s site tripled overnight and viewing figures were up 130 per cent for the programme average. Eden has since risen from tenth in the factual multi-channel rankings to joint fourth in multi-channel homes and joint third in Pay TV homes. The equivalent advertising value for the campaign has been independently evaluated at £2.1m, giving a return on investment of 28:1.

Second Opinion

Nina Webb, Owner, Brazen

Simply, I love it. I did not have to read this campaign entry to recall the mass publicity the PR team generated for its client Eden, and therein lies the proof.

Its brief was to create mass awareness in a relevant way for the launch of a TV natural history channel. Its approach can be applauded on a number of levels.

Creatively, although on the face of it a fairly obvious idea (natural history + polar bears + stunt on the Thames), the skill of a great PR agency is in pulling it off. Tayor Herring crafted and created a visual stunt that could not be ignored by busy picture desks.

Logistically, it was a stunt of magnificent proportions. Not only executed nationally on the iconic Thames, but taken on a tour of the UK, potentially presenting many unforeseen logistical nightmares. That it persuaded the client to invest in this is a tribute to the client/consultancy relationship, and the sheer confidence it must have exuded as a business. When a stunt costs £75,000 you do not want to gamble. You must be 100 per cent confident you can deliver.

Strategically, it had many facets. They made it relevant with the global warming/Fragile Earth angle and got a relevant, credible celebrity to comment.

Results-wise, it was undeniably off the chart. Taylor Herring ticked all the boxes on the campaign tracker – website hits, acres of column inches nationally, regionally and online, talkability on and offline, fame. And ultimately, viewing figures. Now where is that remote control?

Case Study: Polar Bears on The Thames

On February 5th, 2009 James wrote on the subject of Uncategorized.

Launching Eden…

New natural history TV channel Eden challenged us to create and stage a large-scale visual stunt to draw attention to their launch day.


The brief required an idea which would work on several levels; most importantly the initiative needed to amplify awareness of the channel launch within the UK media and successfully communicate the core channel proposition.

We were also tasked to drive traffic to Eden’s website and highlight the Fragile Earth series being shown across the channel.

The idea…

We needed to create a great picture, a unique image that no one had seen before or a new twist on a familiar theme – if we could crack that then we would have a great  story but where to start?

bergThe Taylor Herring team interrogated the launch programming schedule for ideas and analysed the most iconic wildlife scenes and images of recent years for inspiration. After much debate we finally arrived at our key creative – an iceberg featuring a stranded polar bear floating adrift on the River Thames.

The idea paid back to the launch series ‘Fragile Earth’ and provided us with media currency – the stranded polar bear was not just an iconic wildlife image but also a potent symbol of global warming that would add relevance to our story.

While we were confident that our Thames launch would provide us with the compelling news picture, we also felt that the sheer scale of the project merited a series of further mini-launches around the country that would serve to maximise awareness in key demographic regions of the UK.


Eden loved the idea and Taylor Herring moved on to the design of the sculpture, working closely with our design team of 15 artists to make the bears and iceberg as realistic and impressive as possible.  polar-bear-on-thames-1

Realism was key and the build needed to look as lifelike as possible if the stunt was to work.  With this in mind, we liaised closely with our artistic team on every detail from the paintwork and scale (1:5-1) to the icebergs dimensions and the static pose which would work best visually.

polar-bear-on-thames-2With a mere six week window from sign-off to launch, decisions needed to be taken fast and at the end of the first build week we decided to raise the impact of the model by adding a  baby cub to the build.

It was at this stage that we decided our bears’ should have names and so Edie the Polar Bear was born and our launch date of January 26th was dubbed ‘E-day’.  We also liaised with the channel to ensure support for the launch stunt from Sir David Attenborough – the presenter of many of Eden’s key programmes and the world’s pre-eminent authority on the natural world.  Sir David gave us a quote which was included in our launch release.polar-bear-on-thames-3

As the build approached completion, the Taylor Herring team staged a dry run on the river to assess logistics including the tides, timings and the choreography of the shoot. The rehearsal enabled us to pinpoint the Houses of Parliament and Tower Bridge as our key backdrops to the media call and to pinpoint the best possible window for that all important sunshine.

polar-bear-on-thames-9Finally with days to go our PR team held a series of desk side briefings with national picture editors, talking them through every step of the build, the channel proposition and our plans for the E-day.


On Monday 26th January 2009, at 6am in the morning, the 1.5-tonne, 30ft sculpture was winched into place on the Thames where it began its journey from Greenwich in South East London to the Houses of Parliament.polar-bear-on-thames-4

A separate press boat collected photographers from key news agencies and national newspapers including The Sun, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Evening Standard and our own film crew. polar-bear-on-thames-5The pictures were subsequently sold in to national picture desks, news desks, online targets, regional newspapers and eco publications.

Following weeks of grey skies and rain, the sun decided to shine on E-day…


Within five hours of release, fully credited images had appeared on every daily national newspaper’s websites. That very same evening every key London newspaper featured images of the polar bears including The London Paper and polar-bear-on-thames-6London Lite and we secured a double page picture spread in that day’s Evening Standard. Fully credited online coverage was secured on 50 separate websites on the day of launch including the world’s most popular blog The Huffington Post, bbc.co.uk, Sky News.com and the major portals Tiscali, Virgin Media, AOL and MSN News.

The launch day coverage was followed with credited images and discussion points in The Sun, The Metro, The Times, The Daily Star, The Daily Mail, The Independent, The Guardian and The Telegraph as well as numerous key regional newspapers including The Manchester Evening News, Yorkshire Evening Post, Shropshire Star and Glasgow Evening News.

The story has since been featured in OK! – the UK’s biggest selling weekly magazine, the news roundup in The Weekly News and even merited inclusion onto the homepage  of the world’s leading environmental magazine Ecologist website who also included our story in their weekly online mailout to 25,000 subscribers.  International coveragepolar-bear-on-thames-8 was also impressive with picture stories running all over the world from The New York Post to The Brisbane Times.

The online story has also continued to grow throughout the week with further coverage on twenty editorial websites and fourty seven blogs.  Eighteen sites were also featuring our online film of the polar bears’ journey including Telegraph TV and The Sun websites, with at least 80% of all the sites running the story also running the url to the Eden website.  Blogger posts sent our story global with pickup secured on key eco blogs Treehungger, Ecorazzi and Do The Green Thing to name but a few. So far there have been more than 200 mentions for Eden in online coverage which continues to grow on a daily basis

Our campaign, which is still in motion with a regional roll-out has reached more than 254 million people and is still being quoted and spoken about to this day. Following the stunt, web traffic to Eden’s site tripled overnight and viewing figures were up 130 per cent for the programme average.

To see the behind the secenes video click here

The Publicity Stunt Hall Of Fame

On January 26th, 2009 James wrote on the subject of Arts PR,Awards PR,Book PR,Celebrity PR,Children's Brands PR,Computer Games PR,Event PR,Fashion PR,Festival PR,Film PR,FMCG,Food and Drink PR,Games PR,Magazine PR,Music PR,Online PR,Online PR Trends,Publicity Stunts,Retail PR,Sport,Sport PR,Teen PR,Television PR,Travel PR.

Think Famous. Get Famous. Some genius publicity stunts that inspired us.

You can also visit our Stunt Of The Day ideas blog over on Tumblr

The Olympic Torch Relay. The IOC’s world famous Torch Relay, has been executed in the months before the Winter and Summer Games since 1936. The legendary stunt has generated mass publicity for the Olympics, athletes, and sponsors .


Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. In 2008 twenty-eight floats; a 400-lb. inflatable Buzz Lightyear, Dr. Seuss’s Horton elephant, a giant Smurf, 10 marching bands and a cast of thousands attracted 3.5 million New Yorkers to line the streets for the Macy’s 82nd annual Thanksgiving Day Parade. Another 50 million households watched from home. The first parade was a much smaller affair, created in 1924 as a publicity stunt to draw attention to the store. Macy’s employees walked 6 miles in fancy dress, accompanied by animals, on floats, from the city Zoo.

Tiger Tees Off. In March 2004 Tiger Woods was paid $1 million to play in the Dubai Desert Golf Classic. Organisers staged a media call to launch the tournament in which Woods practiced his tee-shot from the helipad of the Burj Al Arab, the world’s tallest free-standing hotel.

Tour De France. 100 years ago Henri Desgrange came up with the idea of a bike race round France in order to raise the profile of L’Auto, the newspaper he worked for. The first race was a big success. The road conditions were terrible, the riders barely slept and they were expected to ride through the night. But it captured the imagination of the public, doubled the circulation of L’Auto and put its rival paper Le Velo out of business.

Sex Pistols Sign To A&M Records. To mark their new deal with A&M records – The Sex Pistols staged a contract signing event for media in front of Buckingham Palace.

The Peanut Protest. Mark McGowan pushes a peanut, using only his nose, from Goldsmiths College to 10 Downing Street in protest at his student debt. The two week journey across London in September 2003 drew massive media interest and culminated with McGowan delivering the nut to Prime Minister Tony Blair, asking him to accept it as payment for his debt.

Hands Across America. On May 26, 1986, more than 7 million people, including President Ronald Reagan, joined hands in a human chain across sixteen states to raise money for the hungry and homeless in the United States. Participants paid ten dollars to reserve their place in line.

Ikea’s Bondi Book Stunt. For one day only the Scandinavian furniture giant placed 30 bookcases on the sands of Bondi beach in Sydney. Beachgoers were invited to swap one of their own books or make a donation, with money raised going to The Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation.

retail PR stunt

Calendar Girls. In 1999 a group of eleven members of the Women’s Institute (in Yorkshire, UK) stripped to create a calendar to raise money for charity. The original calendar featured the women posing nude – obscured by baked goods and flower arrangements. 800,000 copies were sold worldwide. Their efforts took the world by storm in 2000 and inspired a hit movie, starring Julie Walters and Helen Mirren. Since then almost £2m has been raised for leukaemia research. The ladies posed again in 2009 to mark the 10th Anniversary. Angela Baker came up with the idea for the original calendar after her husband, John’s death from lymphoma. You can buy the calendar here.


Best Job In The World. To bring tourist attention to their region Tourism Queensland took an advert to recruit an “island caretaker” willing to spend six months exploring the land and waters around the Great Barrier Reef for £70,000. The post, billed as “the best job in the world” would involve the successful applicant moving to a rent-free three-bedroom villa, complete with pool, on Hamilton Island. Click here to read more about the campaign.

Dove’s Campaign For Real Beauty. Unilever’s toiletry brand Dove became a household name thanks to its highly PR’able ‘Campaign for Real Beauty’ which used real women in ads rather than the stick thin models favoured by rivals. The campaign kicked off in 2003 with adverts featuring six ordinary women in their underwear and boosted sales by 700%.

The Boston Tea Party. On December 16th 1773 American patriots dressed as Mohawk Indians threw 342 chests of tea into Boston Harbour – in protest against repressive taxation and the monopoly of the East India Company. The event achieved mass awareness. The architect of the stunt, Samuel Adams, orchestrated much of the propaganda for the revolution – he pulled together the Sons of Liberty, developed the symbol of the liberty tree and named the Boston Massacre.


Harrods Gift Wrap A Helicopter. Luxury department store Harrods used over 600 metres of paper to gift wrap a helicopter. The chopper was sent to a Harrods customer as a gift to take his partner on a trip of a lifetime. The wrapping was caught on camera to help promote the launch of the ‘Anything Is Possible’ season.

That Dress. Unknown model Liz Hurley arrives at her boyfriend’s Four Weddings And A Funeral premiere in a Versace dress adorned with safety pins. The next day she was the most famous person in Britain.

BA Can’t get it Up. Virgin Airlines took a swipe at the late-running, British Airways sponsored Millennium Wheel project by flying a blimp over the site – carrying the message ‘BA Can’t Get It Up’.

Lotus’ Faceless People. Lotus cars placed ‘faceless people’ at key events in 2008 including Wimbledon and Elton John’s party to tie in with their marketing slogan – ‘True character in a faceless world’. The ‘humanoids’ wore prosthetic skin covering their facial features and black suits with the Lotus logo spelling out the message that you are nobody until you own a Lotus.

The Big Bird Race. Back in 2004 bookmaker Ladbrokes came up with a unique betting opportunity and one that would also do its bit for conservation. In ‘the ultimate flutter’ – 17 Albatrosses were electronically tagged to allow the public to follow their migration across the Southern Ocean. Punters and wildlife enthusiasts alike could bet on which bird they thought would win the race, with updates available at Ladbrokes.com via an interactive map. All proceeds generated during the Big Bird Race were donated to the ‘Save the Albatross’ campaign, while punters were also given the option of donating their winnings to the fund. After a long journey, a Tasmanian Shy Albatross called Aphrodite, sponsored by Jerry Hall, eventually crossed the finish line first. Following the success of the race in 2004, it was decided to stage the race again in 2005 with similar rules – however all of the birds went missing off the coast of Australia.

the big bird race albatross

Trafalgar Square Turfed. In May 2007 Trafalgar Square was transformed into a green space as part of Visit London’s campaign to promote green spaces and villages in the city. The grass covered the square for two days during which visitors were able to soak up the sunshine in deckchairs or enjoy a picnic More than 2,000 square metres of turf covered the piazza around the national monument.


The Blair Witch Project. Producers of The Blair Witch project succeeded in creating huge pre-hype for their low budget horror flick which centered on students being murdered in a forest. Blurring the boundaries between fact and fiction was key to the early buzz that surrounded the movie. Allegedly the film makers had circulated tapes to colleges which were presented as ‘real video diary footage’. Clips that were presented as ‘documentary’ rather than fiction were shown on the Independent Film Channel. This was one of first feature films to use online and viral PR to build hype. The buzz ensured that Blair Witch was a major success which took over $150 million at the box office.

Squirrel Crisps. Snack food giant Walkers launched its Do Us A Flavour campaign in 2008, challenging members of the public to think up a unique flavour of crisp. Crisps that taste of chilli and chocolate, onion bhaji, hoi sin duck and even Cajun squirrel were subsequently produced as part of the competition. Celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal helped pick the top six entries from more than one million, and Walkers turned the ideas into reality.


KLF Burn A Million Quid. K Foundation Burn a Million Quid. It wasn’t the KLF’s machine gunning the 1992 Brit Awards (with blanks), which cemented their controversy. On 23 August 1994, the K Foundation burned one million pounds sterling in private on the Scottish island of Jura. The money represented the bulk of the K Foundation’s funds, earned by Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty as The KLF, one of the early 1990s most successful pop groups. The act inspired a book and world tour of the film Watch the K Foundation Burn a Million Quid. In 1995 the pair resolved not to explain their act for 23 years. The fact that the pair have never fully explained their motivations has forever sealed their legend. Is it art / an act of purity / a crime against humanity? Fervent speculation still rages on. Whether or not intended, Drummond and Cauty’s burning of a million quid, is one of the most controversial publicity stunts of all time. The burning question which still remains is why? (with thanks to Photini)

It’s A Wrap. The most accident-prone street in Britain was given the ultimate safety blanket - 1,500 sq metres of bubble wrap. Cars, gates, lamp posts and even garden gnomes were wrapped to highlight the dangers of winter driving. According to a car insurance comparison website, confused.com, homes in Somerville Road, Worcester, generate the highest number of accident claims in the whole of the UK. The stunt took eight men more than 12 hours to complete.

insurance company PR stunt

Cops Stage Fake Art Exhibition. London’s Metropolitan Police Service’s Art and Antiques Unit raise awareness of some of the investigative methods involved in detecting and preventing the increasingly sophisticated crime of art forgery by staging an exhibition of fake art at the V&A.

art PR stunt

Earth Hour. Earth Hour started off in 2007 with 2.2 million people turning off all their non essential lights in Sydney, Australia. A year later and this event had captured a global audience with up to 50 million people across 35 countries participating. Famous landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and Rome’s Coliseum all plunged into darkness as the world joined together to raise awareness of climate change issues.


Edward Bernays. Born 1891, Bernays was nephew to Sigmund Freud and pioneered the use of social science in delivering public persuasion. In the 1920s, working for the American Tobacco Company, he sent a group of young models to march in the New York City parade. He informed the media that a group of women’s rights marchers would light “Torches of Freedom”. On his signal, the models lit Lucky Strike cigarettes in front of the eager photographers. The New York Times (1 April 1929) printed: “Group of Girls Puff at Cigarettes as a Gesture of ‘Freedom’”.

edward bernays

Frozen Grand Central. On a cold Saturday in New York City, the world’s largest train station came to a halt. In January 2008 a flash mob group from Improv Everywhere froze in place at the exact same second for five minutes in the Main Concourse of Grand Central Station. The stunt has inspired many spin-off’s including the T Mobile dance-mob PR stunt/advert shot in Liverpool Street Station London in 2009.

Frozen Grand Central

Richard Branson. Sir Richard Branson has always understood the power of a good picture, whether donning a wedding dress for the launch of Virgin Brides, a spacesuit for Virgin Galactic, or sticking a TV on his head for Virgin 1. The Virgin brand is one of the most recognisable in the world, helped in no small part by its CEO’s willingness to have fun with his own image in a way unimaginable for most brands and companies.

The Travelodge Nativity. In December 2007, Travelodge announced that all married couples named Mary and Joseph would be offered a free room at one of their hotels. The hotel chain said that husbands and wives who showed an official marriage license would get a night’s stay on the house between Christmas Eve and January 5th 2008, but with more home comforts than the humble stable of the Nativity story.

Naked Gail Porter on The Houses Of Parliament. A 100ft naked image of Gail Porter was projected on to the Houses of Parliament in 1999 as part of a publicity stunt by FHM magazine.

When Pepsi Turned Blue. In April 1996, Pepsi paid The Mirror to print on blue paper. They also arranged for Concorde to be sprayed blue and got the cosmonauts on the Mir space station to pose with a giant Pepsi can. The stunt was a success overall but Pepsi had to take some PR pain too. The Sun newspaper poured scorn on the initiative (for obvious reasons). Other papers suggested that the 300 litres of blue paint applied to the Concorde would prevent it from going supersonic. Pepsi denied this. Meanwhile Nasa’s Endeavour space shuttle blasted off – stocked with Coca-Cola.

PETA. The animal rights campaign group are renowned for their highly visible, frequently controversial campaigns. From young women dressed in lettuce bikinis to the annual “Running of the Nudes” PR stunt which sees PETA activists run naked through Pamplona, Spain in a parody of the bull run tradition. The organisation has managed to win the celebrity vote – as such Christy Turlington, Eva Mendes and Naomi Campbell have posed naked on billboards supporting the slogan “I’d Rather Go Naked than Wear Fur.”

Asda’s Free Eye Tests For The Swiss. Piggybacking the media frenzy of Euro 2004, British supermarket chain Asda offered free eye tests to Swiss citizens. The stunt responded to a controversial decision of Swiss referee Urs Meier who disallowed a late goal. His ruling terminated England’s future in the tournament.

Barbie Street. In November 1997 toy giant Mattel announced a ‘pink month’ to boost sales of their best-selling doll Barbie. The centre piece of the campaign involved re-decorating an entire street in bubblegum-pink. Mattel estimated that media coverage reached over 100 million people. (pic credit: Aidan O’Rourke)


Michael Jackson Statue On The Thames. In June 1995 Sony launched $30 million dollar promotional campaign for the album HIStory by floating a huge statue of Michael Jackson down the River Thames. There were a total of nine statues throughout Europe. Each statue was 10 meters tall, 2,100 kilograms in weight and made from steel and fibreglass.

Message In A Bottle. In 1959 The Guinness Brewing Company was wondering how to build a global identity. Its solution was to drop 150,000 bottles of Guinness Export into the Atlantic and Caribbean. Each bottle contained a message from King Neptune and instructions for how to convert the bottle into a lamp. The brewery intended that beachcombers would discover them and spread the word.


Homer Meets The Giant Of Cerne Abbas. To mark the release of The Simpsons Movie in July 2007, Fox Theatrical created a 70m x 50m chalk Homer in his underpants on a hillside to mirror the famous, 250 yr old chalk giant and brandishing his very own magical symbol, a doughnut.

Fathers For Justice. Despite factional issues within their own organisation, the campaign group Father’s For Justice became famous for their headline grabbing tactics. Their supporters resorted to dramatic protest stunts, usually dressed as comic book superheroes. They frequently scaled public buildings, bridges and monuments – perhaps most famously Buckingham Palace.

Fathers For Justice

Brown Is The New White. Snooker ace Jimmy White temporarily changed his name by deed poll to Jimmy Brown in a sponsorship deal with HP brown sauce. White known as ‘the Whirlwind’ for his fast potting, also swapped his black tuxedo for a brown outfit during the Masters tournament.

FBI’s Most Wanted. In 1949, a reporter from United Press International asked former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover to list his most-wanted criminals. After the story generated acres of positive publicity, the bureau formalised the Most Wanted list as a means to bringing media attention to fugitives. As of November 2008, 491 fugitives have been listed and 460 captured or located, 31%) of them due to public assistance.

FBI Most Wanted

David Blaine In A Box. Public interest in David Blaine peaked In September 2003 when he staged his most ambitious stunt to date. The American illusionist spent 44 days suspended in a glass box by the River Thames in London without food.

P.T Barnum: Born in 1810 Phineas Barnum was a circus promoter, museum curator, publicist, hoaxster and consummate showman. He staged bizarre events and generated sensational word of mouth for his attractions. From Jumbo the Elephant to the Feejee Mermaid, Barnum’s publicity stunts tickled the hearts, minds and imaginations of millions.


Cannes Bee Movie launch. At the Cannes Film Festival in 2007, Jerry Seinfeld climbed to the top of the iconic eight storey Carlton Hotel, dressed in a giant bee costume. Thirty minutes later, arms and legs flailing, he zoomed down a 126 meter wire which took him across a four lane road, to the beach pier below where the press pack of international media were assembled. For more Cannes stunts click here.


The BBC’s Flying Penguins. In April 2008 the BBC released remarkable footage of flying penguins that would be featured in a new natural history series. The following day the corporation issued a press release confessing to the April Fools Day stunt which was to promote their new online catch-up service iPlayer.

Madonna kisses Britney. At MTV’s Video Music Awards in 2003 Madonna and Britney play tonsil hockey, their combined star power ensured the picture dominated front covers around the world for days to come.

KFC Face from Space. To celebrate a revamp of their logo – fast food giant KFC created an 87,500 square feet picture of founder, Colonel Sanders.The massive creation is made up of 65,000 one-foot square painted tiles that were laid out in the Nevada desert in a task that took 24 days.

KFC from space

Ultimo Bras. Founder Michelle Mone created huge tabloid coverage when she sacked Penny Lancaster (Rod Stewart’s current partner) and replaced her with Rachel Hunter (Rod Stewart’s ex-partner), as the face and body of the brand.

Mission Not Impossible. In May 2006 movie publicists, promoting Mission Impossible III, teamed up with the famous Vegas venue Caesars Palace (who were celebrating their 40th anniversary) to create a new world record that would be broadcast on national television. Stuntrider Mike Metzger become the first rider to successfully perform a backflip over the famous fountains.

film publicity stunts

Prince Changes His Name. Following a row with his record company Prince announced to the world (on June 7th, 1993) that he would be changing his name to an unpronounceable symbol.

Bye Bye Blue Smarties. Blue Smarties were voluntarily removed from tubes in 2006 as maker Nestle announced a drive to remove artificial ingredients in children’s food. After a two year absence the blue sweets were brought back with a media fanfare as a natural colouring agent in seaweed was discovered.

David Beckham’s Hair. The world’s No.1 celebrity footballer David Beckham has always played to the gallery. When not stepping out in sari or allowing the reality TV cameras into his home he keeps himself busy by unveiling new haircuts. Timing has always been his forte – the reveals are usually made just before key games and tournaments to ensure that the media lens is firmly pointed in his direction.


The Goodyear Blimp. Tyre and rubber company Goodyear built its first PR airship, the Pilgrim in 1925. The firm painted its name on the side of the balloon and began to tour sporting and entertainment events across the USA. In later years the company offered up their blimps to TV networks, free of charge, for use as a camera platform – which they did in exchange for brand mentions.


Elvis Presley joins the army. On 24 March, 1958 Elvis Presley became soldier No.53310761 and a national hero when he enrolled in the U.S Army . The move came after Presley had spent ten years in the creative wilderness following a fateful movie deal. To quote Alan Levy’s Operation Elvis ‘By pretending he was just like anybody else, the Army had demonstrated to the world The Importance of Being Elvis.’ (with thanks to Ben Thompson)


Red Bull In St Marks. Venice’s St Marks Square had been making headlines all week for record flooding so Red Bull dispatched their stunt man to wake-board across the world famous piazza assisted by a power winch.

A Lego Inauguration. A week before President Obama’s official inauguration – Legoland in California revealed an impressively detailed model of how the ceremony might look. The display showed Barack Obama and his wife Michelle arriving at the White House by helicopter. There were also more than 1,000 other Lego figures, representing celebrities, officials and other guests. An excellent example of how creative, opportunistic PR can hijack the topical news agenda.


Burger King’s £85 burger. Burger King launch an £85 burger, made from finest Wagyu beef from Japanese Kobe cattle and garnished with foie gras and blue cheese. Rather than beans or salad, customers could get treats like black truffles as a side-order – but the traditional fries and fizzy drink would still be available. The burger was to be sold in a select few stores, with Kensington and Chelsea top of the list.


The Beatles Rooftop Gig. The Beatles final live performance was an unannounced rooftop concert. The gig, which took place on top of the Apple Records office in London (in January 1969), attracted a lot of attention from passers-by and was eventually closed down by the police. Similar stunts are regularly employed as means to drawing a crowd and creating that all important photo opp – most recently, in Feb 2009, by U2 on the roof of BBC Radio’s HQ in London.

A Publicity Masterpiece. Actress Kim Cattrall posed semi-naked as part of a campaign to save a famous painting. The Italian masterpiece, Titians’s ‘Diana and Actaeon’, was under threat of being removed from public display. The Sex And The City star went topless for a modern photo version of the painting to help artist Tom Hunter raise 50 million pounds to save the artwork from hitting the open market.

Borat At The White House. In September 2006, Secret Service officers denied Borat access to The White House. Sacha Baron Cohen’s creation had hoped to persuade ‘Premier George Walter Bush” to attend a screening of his film. The antics prompted the Kazakh government to disown the movie which went on to take more than $248 million worldwide.

Extreme Scrabble. Scrabble mobilised their fans to celebrate the brand’s 60th anniversary. PR’s at the board game compiled (and presumably staged) various snaps of extreme scrabble play including shots of sky divers who jumped from a plane 13,000ft over Florida to play the word game.

Google’s Streetview Captures The Stig. Google brought together two great unsolved mysteries in January 2010 as Top Gear’s mystery racing driver The Stig was ‘caught on camera’ by Street View – on the banks of Loch Ness. The cult character from hit BBC motoring series was spotted on the mapping website on the shores of the Scottish lake made famous by sightings of a prehistoric monster.

online PR stunt

Panda’s In Paris. 1600 papier mâché pandas were put on display in the centre of Paris to increase public awareness about the endangered species. The pandas, installed by members of the WWF, represent each of the remaining 1,600 pandas left in the wild.

A Tummy Tuck For Little Chef. In August 2004 roadside restaurant chain Little Chef put its famous logo on a diet. The company commissioned a slimmed down version of the chef character without his tummy in response to the growing awareness of healthy eating. Tim Scoble, chief executive of Little Chef, told The Times: “We get accusations that he’s overweight, so he’s going to lose his paunch.”


America’s First .Com City. Half.com, a retail website known for promoting heavily discounted items, paid Halfway, Oregon, to adopt the name Half.com for their town for 12 months - becoming America’s first “.com” city. In exchange, Halfway received $100,000, new computers for the local school and other financial subsidies. There was a blitz of publicity and five months later eBay bought the company for $300 million.

The Human Billboard. In November 2008 an engineering student spent the day glued to a billboard in East London for a book pr stunt. Press reports claimed that the living advert ’caused passers-by to double take.‘Daring’ Dave Lions agreed to promote ‘This Diary Will Change Your Life’ to help pay his way through university. (picture credit: London Media)


Formula1 in London. Formula1 cars parade through central London in July 2004 ahead of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Jenson Button, David Coulthard, Nigel Mansell and other F1 stars give fans and families a chance to see the awesome cars up close as they roar through Piccadilly Circus and Regent Street. Ear plugs were recommended. Photos and video ran round the world.

Robbie Williams vs Oasis. On 22nd February 2000, having been dismissed as a “fat dancer” by Oasis star Noel Gallagher, Williams responded by sending Gallagher a £100 funeral wreath to The Sun newspaper, with a note that read: “R.I.P. Heard your latest album – with deepest sympathy, Robbie Williams.” The Sun then passed the flowers on to Gallagher.


The Lamborghini Police Car: Taking product placement up a gear – Lamborghini handed Rome’s police department the keys to a brand new 560-horsepower, fully customised Gallardo. The car hits 60 mph in 3.5 seconds, making it just the thing for chasing down criminals or making a run for espresso.30 officers were personally trained by Lamborghini’s test drivers.


Chemists Solve Italian Job Riddle. An IT specialist solved the notorious cliffhanger quandary of The Italian Job movie and won a competition organised by the Royal Society of Chemistry. The society attracted over 2000 entries and received lots of media attention. The winner John Godwin of Godalming in Surrey won a holiday in Turin, the city where the 1969 film was made.


Threshers Voucher Error? In 2006, shortly before Christmas, alcohol retailer Threshers leaked a voucher worth 40% off booze via the internet. Word on the street was that the promotion was only intended for retail partners. The myth that Threshers had mistakenly released the voucher made it spread faster and faster round the country via email, social networks and blogs. Threshers told the media that they were worried about losing money on the promotion but no doubt ended up making a huge profit and getting publicity in a month than they got for the previous year.

drinks brand pr

Courting Publicity. No.1 seeds Ana Ivanovic and Elena Dementieva launched the Sony Ericsson Tennis Championships by playing a match on a specially built court on a desert island in the bay of Doha.The only people on the island other than the two tennis pros were the ballboys.

Musuem Appoints Director Of Fun. The National Railway Museum in the UK hired a 6-year-old as its “director of fun.” Six-year-old Sam Pointon wrote to the National Rail Musuem and applied to replace retiring director Andrew Scott. In his application Sam wrote: “I have an electric train track. I am good on my train track. I can control two trains at once.” Bosses were so taken with his enthusiasm they offered him the role. Great move. Deserved more coverage.


World’s Greatest Dice Roll. With the help of a helicopter designed for extreme conditions, gambling website Gnuf.com air-lifted two huge dice, weighing half a ton, over a steep snow-packed slope in the mountains outside Nuuk, Greenland. By visiting gnuf.com, users could view the film of the dice on their journey down the mountain and bet on the result which would be revealed a week later.

Two Strangers And A Wedding. In 1999 two contestants, who had never met before, were chosen by a radio station’s listeners to marry on live air. The marriage lasted just three months. But the bride eventually married the competition host, BRMB radio DJ Jeremy Kyle. The stunt was originally made famous in New Zealand.

Beaujolais Noveau Spa Launch. Marketeers at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort in Tokyo arranged a unique treat for their guests to celebrate the arrival of 2008′s Beaujolais Nouveau. Bathers splashed about in a wine filled pool. For the teetotallers there was also a pool of green tea.


Cosmo’s Beach Babes. In March 2007 the Australian version of Cosmopolitan magazine created a human advert by gathering over 1,000 bikini-clad babes on Australia’s Bondi Beach (the girls were lined up to spell out c-o-s-m-o).

Bondi Beach Cosmopolitan Stunt

$5Million Dollar Bra. Heidi Klum and a bevvy of supermodels took to the stage in Miami in November 2008 for the Victoria’s Secret show where the company unveiled a $5 million ‘Black Diamond Fantasy Miracle Bra’ paraded by Adriana Lima. (Photo Credit: Splash News)


Eau De Burger. In 2008 Fast-food chain Burger King launched a meat-scented fragrance.The cologne for men sold at a New York retailer and online was being touted as “the scent of seduction, with a hint of flame-broiled meat”. Beef-loving consumers could buy a bottle of the scent for just $3.99.


A Night At The Museum. In 2010 capitalising on the impact of the Hollywood movie franchise, London’s Natural History Museum created a unique dinosaur sleepover event for kids. The initiative ‘Dino Snores’ was such a success the museum now plans to allow 400 kids to sleep there every month.

museum PR

and finally…a hat tip to some of our own…

Pink My Ride. To mark the launch of the Fiat 500 Pink - we worked with marketing agency Krow to win the car manafacturer a place in the record books by painting an entire vehicle in pink nail polish. The artist used 131 bottles of pink nail polish to turn a brand new Fiat 500 into a glossy pink ride. He lived and slept in a special studio where he completed the mammoth task which was broadcast over the internet by webcam.

car PR stunt

Polar Bear On The Thames. We floated a 1.5 tonne, 20ft high statue down the river Thames to mark the launch of natural history channel Eden. The campaign reached 260 Million people.


Live Sky Dive For Honda. We worked with Channel Four to stage Britain’s first live television commercial - an ambitious sky-diving stunt which would be the curtain raiser for a new Honda advertising campaign. Sky divers took to the sky over Madrid to undertake a series of highly challenging formations to spell the name H.O.N.D.A to viewers during a 3 minute commercial.

Edible Ascot Hat. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the reinvented Flake 99 ice cream brand – we created an edible fashion accessory which was then paraded at the world famous hat parade that is Ascot’s Ladies Day. We secured next day coverage in every main UK paper – from The Sun to the Daily Telegraph.


Giant Suduko. Our team created a giant Sudoku board for Sky 1 to launch their new game show. Visible from up to 3 miles away, the full 275 x 275ft puzzle grid was positioned alongside the M4 Motorway – one of Britain’s busiest roads.

The Simpsons Movie. In 2007 we were hired by 20th Century Fox to promote The Simpsons Movie. In a homage to the famous Pink Floyd album cover we created a super-size Spider Pig (the size of a double decker bus) and flew it over Battersea Power Station.

Del Monte’s Super Smoothie: In July 2009 we marked the launch of the Del Monte Superfruit Smoothie range by creating a ‘for one-day only’, limited edition Daniel Craig lolly. The 007 creation was in a response to a national survey that we undertook to find the UK’s smoothest celebrity. Sales increased by 25% in the first week.


Sister Act’s Abseiling Nuns: In May 2009 we stopped city centre traffic by sending six nuns abseiling down the front of the iconic London Palladium theatre to mark the start of new West End hit musical Sister Act.


Zooming In On The Lumix. We worked closely with digital agency AKQA to launch Panasonic’s ZX1 Lumix camera – a super-compact with an 8x optical zoom. The key PR creative focused on bringing the camera’s lifestyle and zoom features to the fore via a series of giant model installations that would appear across the UK.

camera PR stunt







Polar Bear Stranded on The Thames for Eden Launch

On January 26th, 2009 James wrote on the subject of Publicity Stunts,Television PR.

eden-polar-bearA 16 foot high sculpture of an iceberg featuring a stranded female polar bear and her baby cub was launched on the River Thames today providing Londoners with a timely reminder of the dangers of global warming.

The sculpture, which was specially commissioned to mark the launch of Eden, a new digital TV channel devoted to natural history, graphically brought to life one of the most iconic images of climate change – the melting ice caps.

A team of 15 artists spent two months constructing the 20ft by 20ft square structure which was launched in Greenwich, South East London at 6:30am, before travelling up the Thames to stop beside Tower Bridge and the Houses of Parliament for a national photocall. The structure weighing 1.5 tonnes was winched into place in freezing temperatures, before travelling 7.5 miles along the Thames.

The melting of the ice caps will not only affect the polar bears, there will also be serious repercussions for the two billion people who depend on the glacial meltwater that feeds their rivers. The polar bears’ presence in London highlights these issues which will also be addressed in Eden’s Fragile Earth series which will run throughout the week.

Broadcaster and eminent wildlife conservationist, Sir David Attenborough says: “The melting of the polar bears’ sea ice habitat is one of the most pressing environmental concerns of our time. I commend Eden for highlighting the issue; we need to do what we can to protect the world’s largest land carnivores from extinction.”

Eden’s Channel Head, Adrian Wills, says: “”The Earth is a fragile place and we were keen to launch with a message that would draw attention to the uncertain state of our finely balanced environment. Our aim is to reflect one amazing world, with one amazing channel that can address issues like climate change whilst providing an entertaining, informative experience by airing a range of high-end premieres, landmark natural history programmes and first class wildlife documentaries.”

Now the polar bears’ have finished their journey along the Thames, they will be taking the message about global warming to Hampstead Heath as well as key cities across the UK including Birmingham and Glasgow.

The Thames is familiar with unexpected visitors. In January 2006 a seven-tonne bottle-nosed whale became trapped in shallow water near Battersea Bridge. Crowds gathered as the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) attempted to save its life. But despite the team’s efforts to move it into deeper water, the whale died.

Other mammals which have strayed into The Thames include a family of Harbour Porpoises, which were spotted near Vauxhall Bridge in December 2004. Three years previously, a Bottle- nosed dolphin was discovered swimming past Tower Bridge and Blackfriars Bridge.

Eden’s programming starts at 9am, Monday 26th January 2009 with Attenborough Explores…Our Fragile World at 10pm. A programme schedule for new digital Natural History channel Eden can be found at: www.exploreeden.co.uk.

For further information contact Nicola Dann or Hayley Dodd at Taylor Herring PR on 0208 206 5151 or email nicola.dann@taylorherring.com or hayley.dodd@taylorherring.com

Note to editors:

The Eden sculpture is certified as 100% recyclable by the Set Salvage Company authorised by the Mayor of London’s office. Eden goes live at 9am on 26th January with a schedule packed full of high-end premieres. From the scale and beauty of Superstorm, Ganges and Wild China to the revelation and intimacy of Tribe (series 3), Elephant Diaries (series 2) and Tribal Wives – that will play alongside landmark series such as Planet Earth, Ray Mears’ Extreme Survival, Life of Mammals and Full Circle with Michael Palin. A complementary website with the url www.exploreeden.co.uk goes live on the same day. Eden can be found on Sky Channel: 532 or Virgin TV Channel: 208Formed in 1997, UKTV is an independent commercial joint venture, between BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC, and Virgin Media. Attracting 34 million viewers each month, the network consists of 10 distinctive TV channels – Watch, G.O.L.D., Dave, Alibi, Eden, UKTV Style, UKTV Food, UKTV Gardens, UKTV History and UKTV People  – offering a broad range of quality programming across entertainment, lifestyle and factual programming. UKTV currently operates 18 broadcast streams when multiplexes (+1s) and broadband are taken into account, and 11 highly successful websites. Promising to creatively connect its audiences with great programming, UKTV’s successful programming strategy combines quality content from the BBC with high profile original commissions and key acquisitions. All UKTV channels are distributed on Sky and Virgin Media. Dave and UKTV History are also available on Freeview. More detail can be found on uktv.co.uk 

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