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Going Viral: Publicity Stunts That Gained Attention


Retweets, reposts, shares, likes, comments – News spreads more rapidly on social media than anywhere else. Many people post on social media to connect with friends and family. But when it comes to marketing, the best way to get a message across instantly is to “go viral.” In some instances, videos have gone viral on accident, being shared millions of times because of something viewed as hilarious or extreme. Below is a list of companies or brands that have created something “viral” with intentionally devised publicity stunts.

#1 The Ice Bucket Challenge: Raising Awareness About ALS

Social media had a (year + long) hay day with the Ice Bucket Challenge. People would donate money and/or talk about ALS awareness before being doused with a bucket of ice water. Each person would nominate another 3 people, and the social media campaign circulated the globe.

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#2 HBO Sends GOT Fans On Massive Scavenger Hunt For Hidden Thrones

In order to hype fans up for the final season of Game Of Thrones, HBO hid 6 thrones around the world for fans to find, and then post about on social media. Here's a list of where they were all found.

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#3 Dominoes: Paving For Pizza

Potholes are bad for our tires..and our pizza order. Dominoes decided to do something about it, and launched a campaign for people to vote for potholes to be paved in their cities. It's proved to be a success for both the roads, and Dominoes.

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#4 When IHOP Claimed They Were Rebranding As ‘IHOB’

The restaurant chain quadrupled their burger sales and every media outlet talked about the name change. But changing the name was never actually going to happen. That's one effective publicity stunt.

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#6 Keeping Up With The Kweens of Publicity Stunts

From televised (and VERY short-lived marriages) to cheating scandals and denying obvious lip fillers; this article lists a few of the PR stunts the Kardashians have used to stay relevant over the years. Seems they've all worked, as KUWTK is in it's 16th season.

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#7 The Science Behind Going Viral

Source

This article discusses the phenomenon of viral marketing. A research study on what factors make something "go viral" is assessed, as well as how quickly the audience is reached.

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#8 Professional Pranksters: Promotions With PR Stunts

This article describes an elaborate PR stunt that was used to promote the movie "Carrie" and another that boosted sales for a car dealership. It also discusses tracking success on social media; You can see the number of views, where you can't for traditional TV commercials.

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#9 'Push To Add Drama'

The viral publicity stunt for TNT Benelux is deconstructed in this article. A large button with the words "Push To Add Drama" is placed in a quiet Belgian town. When someone finally pushes it, a wild scene (like that from an action movie) unfolds. The video of the stunt gained 10 million views in just two days.

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#10 A GAP In Positive Feedback: Can Negative Publicity Be Good?

When clothing brand, GAP, released an updated logo, it drew nothing but terrible feedback. Everyone hated it - But everyone was talking about it. The stunt got the brand in the media and in everyone's minds. This article referred to it as "a boost in awareness."

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#11 #NuggsforCarter: A Top Trending Year’s Worth Of Nuggets

The fast-food chain, Wendy's,  agreed to give free chicken nuggets to teenager Carter Wilkerson for a year if he got 18 million retweets asking for a year's worth of nuggets. It was widely circulated online and on TV, and Carter was even a guest on Ellen to talk about his #NuggsForCarter campaign. It was a huge PR victory for Wendy's.

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