What makes this outrageous marketing tactic work


‘Marketing’ as a word may sound easy to preach and define but in practicality successfully marketing a product or a brand is indeed a daunting challenge for marketers. From spending billions on hiring celebrities to influence TG, to shelling a lot more on branding and from engaging prospective consumers through on-ground initiatives to constantly keeping a tab on social media trends, marketers today have to bear it all for the success of their offerings in the market.

One of such unique marketing strategies adopted by brands in their endeavor to create a maximum impact on their audiences is ‘Stunt Marketing’. For those of you who do not know, Stunt marketing commonly refers to particular forms of marketing through which a brand releases a false or humoristic breaking news for gaining media coverage and public attention.

Stunt marketing as a strategy has been used for many years and is known to spell major financial successes for brands. It is often asked that when should brands opt for stunt marketing and why does it work? And if you have a curious mind about stunt marketing then we have all the questions answered right here for you.

The reasons why stunt marketing works is that it enables brands to create a surprising memory in the hearts and minds of their audiences resulting in high curiosity and urge to know more about the product. The intention of stunt marketing is to gain a sudden momentum in the market space for your product rather than allowing customers to have a touch and feel experience with it or announcing the attributes embedded in the product via ATL mediums. A stunt marketing technique can be resorted to by brands when despite multiple experiments in their marketing activities, the brand has failed to created an impact in the market or a sudden announcement regarding the brand has to made.

Taco Bell Corp used stunt marketing in 1996, when one fine morning an ad appeared in The New York Times with a headline that read: "Taco Bell Buys the Liberty Bell." The ad explained that Taco Bell had agreed to purchase the Liberty Bell and now one of the most historic treasures in the United States will be called the 'Taco Liberty Bell'. The aftermath of this stunt was huge as while some people found the idea simply bizzare and distasteful a few others found it an interesting way to get rid of the country's debt.

Thousands of people called in their complaints to the home of the Liberty Bell, but by afternoon, Taco Bell admitted that the ad was an April Fool's joke. As a result of this stunt, more than 650 print media outlets and 400 broadcast outlets covered Taco Bell and reached out to more than 70 million Americans. Interestingly, as a result of this prank the company's revenue increased by $500,000 that day, and by $600,000 more the following day thus enabling Taco Bell to make the best out of this stunt.

in 1998, Burger King too tried to pull of stunt marketing in their own unique way as they sent out an ad in USA Today, stating that they'd re-engineered their most famous burger and were now serving Left-Handed Whopper. They offered details of how the burger had been designed to fit more comfortably in the left hand, including rotating the condiments and redistributing the weight of the toppings.

This marketing stunt too proved to be of great help to the brand as millions rushed in to Burger King stores to try their hands on the Left-handed whopper. However, upon realizing that this was an April Fool prank consumers laughed it off as they relished in the usual whopper burgers adding money into the pockets for Burger King.

So yes stunt marketing moves are a goldmine for marketers who are desperate to get their brands under the spotlight for the moment however stunt marketing like other marketing techniques has its own set of challenges and may backfire too. Brands like Vodafone and Snapple learned it the hard way.

In June 2005, Snapple attempted to erect the world's largest popsicle, made of frozen Snapple juice which was twenty-five feet tall and weighing 17.5 tons. But much to their surprise as the crane pulled the frozen treat into an upright position in Times Square in New York City it began melting. Resulting in a flood of kiwi-strawberry-flavored fluid pouring onto the streets of downtown Manhattan and forcing innocent bystanders to flee from the sticky, sugary mess.

Similarly, Vodafone in 2002 failed miserably while attempting to make its brand the center of attraction through stunt marketing. At a rugby match between New Zealand and Australia, two streakers interrupted the game, wearing the Vodafone logo. This intervention was not taken well by the teams, the players, the audiences and everyone else involved and as a result the police arrested the streakers before the game was over.

The brand got a lot of the heat from the media over the issue and thus Grahame Maher, one of the CEOs of Vodafone,was forced to apologize for encouraging these two guys to streak through the game and breaking the law. The company also ended up donating $30,000 pounds to a nonprofit campaign aimed at reducing sports injuries.

In the end it can be said that stunt marketing is definitely one of the sure shot ways to get your brand noticed by its TG but one has to be very careful while devising the perfect stunt to make sure the brand doesn't gets into any trouble.

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brands strategy stunt marketing

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