Utilising stunt advertising for market cut through

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Upcoming movie, Carrie, successfully utilises stunt advertising for market cut through

Over the last few days, the Internet has been abuzz about the stunt-based advertising for Carrie, a Stephen King novel and remake of the 1976 horror movie. The prank is fairly simple in concept: a girl loses it over a spilled coffee and then applies telekinesis to throw a man against a wall and scatter tables and chairs around the coffee shop. The actions are true to the movie — the main character uses telekinesis to terrorise her small town and the prank is elaborately planned and executed. It is a fantastic illustration of intelligent, strategically-driven stunt based advertising.

Environmental and stunt based advertising is not a new concept. With the proliferation of shared media, a well-executed campaign can gain incredibly fast, widespread word of mouth reach and earn media attention far beyond its spend. In less than a week since being posted on YouTube, the video has been viewed over 35 million times and shared via a number of news sources around the world. Whether or not the reactions of the people in the video are real is neither here nor there. The video was created to get people talking amongst themselves and bringing the name ‘Carrie’ into everyday conversation. It’s a smart execution of an idea true to the product and makes sense from a marketing perspective. You’ll have to go and see for yourself if the movie lives up to hype (but reviews are not great…)

Marketers are more frequently turning to environmental advertising as a way to put a message directly in front of customers. They want to disrupt people’s days and get them talking. With such saturation of the advertising landscape, doing something that stands out is getting harder and harder, even with the growing number of media channels available. Where the marketing team for Carrie has done it right, many are doing it wrong. The mindset is to create something for the sake of creation, not because it is true to the brand or right for the strategy. The communications objective is to create a ‘viral’ video, yet no one can predict how the Internet will respond to certain media. What was once shareable and the flavour of the day may be quickly discarded the following week. So while a campaign deliverable may be some kind of environmental or stunt based outcome, it needs to be true to the intent of the brand story. Without a rational grounding and strategic backing, an expensive campaign can quickly become superfluous Internet noise.

Pete Saunders
Director of Brand Projects.

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