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Publicity stunt

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Publicity stunt in Salt Lake City, 1910: "Little Hip" the elephant, advertising newspaper and theater.
Austin A40 Sports, c. 1951. To promote the A40 Sports, Leonard Lord, Chairman of Austin, bet Alan Hess of the company's publicity department that he could not drive round the world in 30 days in the car. In 1951, an A40 Sports driven by Hess[1] achieved the round-the-world feat in 21 days rather than the planned 30 (with assistance of a KLM cargo plane) – though the stunt had no eventual impact on sales.[2]
In 2013 in several large German cities, Planet Earth Account Community Enterprise (PEACE) organized events where money was distributed to the public via a balloon.[3]

In marketing, a publicity stunt is a planned event designed to attract the public's attention to the event's organizers or their cause. Publicity stunts can be professionally organized, or set up by amateurs.[4] Such events are frequently utilized by advertisers and celebrities, many of whom are athletes and politicians.

Organizations sometimes seek publicity by staging newsworthy events that attract media coverage. They can be in the form of groundbreakings, world record attempts, dedications, press conferences, or organized protests. By staging and managing these types of events, the organizations attempt to gain some form of control over what is reported in the media. Successful publicity stunts have news value, offer photo, video, and sound bite opportunities, and are arranged primarily for media coverage.[5]

It can be difficult for organizations to design successful publicity stunts that highlight the message instead of burying it. The importance of publicity stunts is for generating news interest and awareness for the concept, product, or service being marketed.[6]



JP Morgan and Ringling Brothers


In 1933, J.P. Morgan Jr. was summoned to appear before Senate Banking and Currency Committee due to their suspicions of his previous banking activity throughout the financial crash. During the congressional hearings, U.S. Senator Carter Glass remarked that the proceedings had turned into a circus as things had begun to appear out of hand. The Ringling Brothers as well as Barnum & Bailey Circus were both in D.C. at the time of the hearing. Thus, they interpreted Senator Glass' remarks as an invitation and asked their press agent to place a female circus dwarf named Lya Graf, on Morgan Jr.'s lap during one of the hearings. While the addition of the small lady surprised Morgan and infuriated Glass, it also gained significant publicity for Ringling Brothers Circus.[7]

Calendar Girls


In 1999, a group of 11 women from the Women's Institute (in Yorkshire, UK) stripped for a calendar to raise money for Leukemia Research. Setting a goal of $5,000, the group of Women's Institute women feared that they would struggle to sell even a 1,000 copies.[8] The calendar released was eventually released on April 12, 1999, and featured all 11 women posing nude – obscured by baked goods, flower arrangements, sewing adornments, teapots, song sheets, and even a grand piano. Despite leaving people of this time stunned, over 800,000 copies of the calendar were sold worldwide. After its initial release in 1999, the calendar raised over 5 million euros or over 4.8 million U.S dollars. This publicity stunt eventually went on to inspire a multitude of media productions including a British comedy film, titled Calendar Girls[9] in 2003, a West End show in 2009, and a musical production in 2012, titled The Girls.[8] Tricia Stewart, one of the original calendar girls, also known as Miss October, even went on to publish her own autobiography, Calendar Girl, in which she retells the initial creation of the publicity stunt and how it changed their lives forever.[8]

See also



  1. ^ "Austin A40 Sports". Austin Memories. Archived from the original on 2009-01-05.
  2. ^ "Motoring Memories: Austin A40 Sports, 1951–1953". Canadian Driver, June 15, 2007, Bill Vance.
  3. ^ "Money rain over Frankfurt am Main". www.cna.org. Archived from the original on 2015-01-01. Retrieved 2015-01-01.
  4. ^ "Advertising". The Balance Careers. Retrieved 2019-02-01.
  5. ^ Cutlip, Scott; Center, Allen; Broom, Glen (1985). Effective Public Relations. Englewood Cliffs, new Jersey: Prentice Hall. pp. 8–9. ISBN 0-13-245077-1.
  6. ^ Horton, James. "Publicity Stunts What Are They? Why Do Them?" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2008-10-15.
  7. ^ "10 Crazy PR Stunts Throughout History". Mental Floss. 2015-08-23. Retrieved 2022-06-27.
  8. ^ a b c "Real Calendar Girl shares story". Hexham Courant. Retrieved 2022-10-20.
  9. ^ "The 25 greatest publicity stunts of our time". The Drum. Retrieved 2022-06-27.