Shea Anderson / April 17, 2012

By Brendan Hughes, The Fearey Group

PR stunts are alive and kicking in the city of Seattle and nearby. Two recent events – and one in process – show that stunts still work when they’re done right.

Last month, a massive Angry Bird was suspended from the side of the Space Needle to promote a new version of the popular game. This act received widespread attention by the public and the local and online media.

Today, Intuit the makers of Quicken financial software, closed a section of 2nd Avenue in Seattle for two hours and built a temporary public driving range to showcase their new GoPayment service. The event featured Jeff Coston, a former PGA tour pro, giving $5, ten-minute lessons while accepting payments on the company’s new mobile solution. This created a highly effective, buzz-worthy demonstration of their product. Intuit also filmed a TV commercial at the event to expand the stunt’s utility.

This week the Space Needle is again the site of a PR caper. The top of the needle itself is getting painted back to its original “Galaxy Gold” color to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the World’s Fair. They’re not even done yet and the stunt is already receiving positive media attention.

These are only a few examples of successful local stunts; numerous others continue to take place across the nation and around the world.

Think a stunt is for you? Take some advice from Peter Shankman, the Founder of HARO and author of numerous books, including ‘Can We Do that?! Outrageous PR Stunts That Work – And Why Your Company Needs Them.

Shankman told INC. Magazine:

 A stunt for the sake of a stunt is pointless.

  1. Tie your stunt into the news; tie it into what’s going on in the world.
  2. Don’t just put something out into the universe without a bigger plan.
  3. PR is an ongoing process; one good piece should lead to another.
  4. Stunts should foster growth inside and outside the organization.

Shankman oughtta know. He’s even had a successful stunt personally directed at him by Morton’s Steakhouse. After Shankman Tweeted that he wished he could have a Morton’s steak waiting for him after a flight, Morton’s sent a tuxedo-clad server with a porterhouse to meet him when he disembarked. The stunt earned social and traditional media hype, not to mention the tweet from Shankman to his 131,000 Twitter followers.

Stunts aren’t for everyone. Their half-life can be mercilessly short. But given the right kind of planning, they can give your public presence a boost.