What is stunt marketing and why should you use it?

Published: Mar 24th, 2022

Updated: Dec 06th, 2022

“Stunt” is often treated as a dirty word in PR and marketing, but, when wielded appropriately, stunt marketing can be incredibly effective.

“Stunt” is often treated as a dirty word in Public Relations and marketing circles, conjuring images of people in the public eye making empty gestures to win popular approval. But, when wielded appropriately, stunt marketing can be an incredibly effective means of getting your organisation’s message across to its target audience in an impactful manner.

The “What” – What is stunt marketing?

A PR or marketing stunt is essentially a planned event engineered to capture as much attention as possible in the media, in your target market, and among the public more broadly.

This may sound somewhat nebulous, but the chances are that you’ll know a stunt when you see it. In fact, that’s the whole point.

From the property developer who erected the “Hollywood” sign to drive interest in his patch of Los Angeles, to KFC’s 2016 advert that could be seen from space, the aim of the stunt is to announce a particular idea (be it “buy this product” or “support this cause”) in such a hard-hitting way that it makes widespread engagement inevitable.

The “Why” – Why should you use stunt marketing?

This brings us to the reasons why you might consider launching a stunt marketing campaign. Market disruptors often look to announce themselves to their target audience in the most impactful way, while established organisations should always be vigilant for opportunities to mitigate audience fatigue. Stunts can be beneficial in both cases because of their capacity to extract from an organisation’s identity a single, simple message that resonates with the public.

Engaging with the public on this more forthright level may also allow opportunities to take a less corporate-straitjacketed stance on certain issues, building a rapport with consumers who appreciate brands being more candid.

And The “How” – How can you create a marketing stunt?

Pulling off the perfect marketing stunt is easier said than done, and requires the support of specialists who are well versed in the art of turning an organisation’s nuanced message into an eye-catching event that invites public and media attention.

Nowadays it is normal for stunts to have a longer shelf life, such as their capacity to drive the conversation on social media. Building anticipation ahead of the stunt, and capitalising on the interest that it generates afterwards, are both just as important as the stunt itself – if not more.

In both cases, social media will likely play a key role. Sharing hints about the stunt, or coverage of it, will drive conversation around your message and ensure that it is imprinted onto your audience. Moreover, any assets such as photos or footage will be extremely useful for future marketing activity.

Successful stunt marketing must therefore ensure that your stunt is not a standalone event, but part of a cohesive marketing strategy that consistently drives your audience towards your key messages. Remember, if a tree falls in a forest, and no one is around to hear it, what does it matter if it makes a sound?

Making the right kind of noise with a marketing stunt is easier said than done. Fortunately, Sapience offers this expertise in-house. Contact us to learn more about how we can help meet your stunt marketing needs.

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