How To Do Wild and Crazy Publicity Stunts (That Generate Huge Free Publicity)

(LA Times)

(LA Times)

People driving by the Staples Center in L.A. recently may have noticed a HUGE hole in the side of the building with smoke coming out and protesters outside screaming, “The end is near! The transformers are coming!”

The hole looks as though a giant decepticon smashed through the side of the building.

What The Heck!

Calm down.

It’s just a publicity stunt for a new ride opening at Universal Studios called, “Transformers: The Ride 3D.”

This scene is getting a LOT of media attention by all the local TV news channels and some of the national TV news channels.

It’s also getting write ups in a lot of local news publications and it’s being smattered all over the web right now.

And guess what. It’s all free publicity!

Well, it’s not really free because it costs money to put the whole stunt on, but I’m positive that the free publicity that’s being generated exceeds the cost to put the stunt on.

(AP Photo / Seth Wenig)

The Zombie Publicity Stunt

Last year, to promote the beginning of a new TV series called, “The Walking Dead,” producers hired a bunch of actors, dressed them up as zombies and had them walk across the Brooklyn Bridge.

It generated a firestorm of free publicity. Photographers had a hey day with all the walking zombies.

The Chinese Military Rocket Truck

I saw another publicity stunt recently that caught my attention from a car leasing company in the U.K. called Lings Cars.

Ling, the owner, does all kinds of publicity stunts to generate traffic to her “very ugly” website.

It might be ugly, but her site attracts 100,000 unique visitors every month!

For instance, Ling purchased a Chinese military truck, with a giant rocket and all, to advertise to thousands of drivers on U.K.”s A1 freeway.

The King Of Publicity Stunts

In my opinion, the all time best publicity stunt maker is, which is an online casino.Casino’s aren’t allowed to do traditional advertising so this casino turned wacky publicity stunts as a way to advertise itself.

The best stunts were paying for weird stuff on eBay at ridiculous prices.

Here’s some examples of what they did…

1. On July 22, 2004, GoldenPalace won its first bid, buying a David Beckham missed penalty kick ball for €28,050.

2. On November 23, 2004, the site paid $28,000 for a grilled cheese sandwich purportedly displaying an image of the Virgin Mary.

3. On March 3, 2005, they paid $650,000 for the naming rights of a recently discovered monkey species.

4. On March 30, 2005, the casino paid Terri Iligan $15,199 to change her name to “”.

All of these stunts got huge free publicity for

They also paid people to streak naked at major sporting events with the name painted on their backs.

Publicity Stunts Gone Wrong

Sometimes, some well meaning publicity stunts go bad.

I’m reminded of one such publicity stunt recently in which, an online pawn shop, threw hundreds of Butterfingers candy bars all over Copley Square in Boston with a note that read, “Thank you Wes Walker.”

Wes Walker is a wide receiver for the New England Patriots who dropped a pass in the Super Bowl (hence, butterfingers) that might have won the game.

Pawngo got HUGE publicity from this stunt from all the major media outlets all over the country.

However, New England fans didn’t take too kindly to the stunt and there was an angry backlash.

With that said, I still remember to this day. So even bad stunts have silver linings.

Is a Publicty Stunt Right For Your Business?

You don’t have to have a lot of money to put on a publicity stunt. All you need is some creativity and some guts.

If you can find a great stunt, that doesn’t harm anyone, and it fits your brand, then you might give it a try.

Here’s Some Publicity Stunt Ideas

This list might get your creative juices flowing.

1. Stage a weird protest

2. Buy something weird

3. Try for a Guiness world record

4. Hold a silly contest

5. Hire a famous person look-a-like to do something funny

6. Create a “dumb ____” top 10 list

7. Create a viral video

8. Do a flash mob dance

To your continued success.

P.S. On another note, how would you like to discover how to create a dummy-proof, online PR system to reel in immediate and long-term, highly-qualified, super-targeted traffic to your website?

If so, you’ll want to listen to every word of this interview that we did with online PR expert, Marc Harty.

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David Frey is the Founder, He is also the author of the best selling book, "The Small Business Marketing Bible" and many other marketing courses. To find out more about this author, visit

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  1. Wow those are some great stunts. And they are all very effective. I remember the Zombie Parade and I and my friends actually thought it was real! We talked about that for weeks to our friends, family and even people we just met on the train!

  2. Wow, I’d really like to know where did that chinese girl find a truck like that on sale. Awesome advertising, made me check out her website too.

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