April 7, 2016

Marketing Stunts That Proved Successful

An important part of marketing a business is gaining positive press coverage. To do so, businesses often perform what the industry refers to as marketing stunts. When executed properly, these “stunts” can have massive payoffs for your company. However, attracting media attention can be an art form in itself.

One example of a marketing stunt that captured a wealth of media attention last year was Jerry Stritzke’s, Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI) CEO, decision to close his company’s doors on Black Friday while encouraging his customers to go outside, rather than participate in the shopping mayhem that is Black Friday. This decision was not only consistent with the company’s identity, brand, and values of getting people outside, but it also garnered REI a ton of free publicity.

“Throughout history, entrepreneurs have tried to be creative about how they inform the public of their product,”
explains business writer, Geoff Williams. “In 1903, for instance, newspaper publisher Henri Desgrange started a new bicycle road race as a temporary publicity stunt to promote his newspaper, never imagining that the Tour de France would be going strong more than 100 years later.”

Imprimis Pharmaceuticals CEO, Mark Baum, offered another great example of a marketing stunt that garnered major media attention last year. In the midst of Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO, Martin Shkreli, making arguably one of the worst leadership decisions of 2015 (Jacking up the price of the AIDS medication, Daraprim, by 5000%), Baum saw an opportunity to step forward in a positive way. He took advantage of a major opportunity to disrupt Turing Pharmaceuticals while at the same time gain positive brand awareness by offering an alternative to Daraprim for the original low price. This resulted in Imprimis receiving a ton of coverage in major news publications, as well as a 10.6 percent increase in their stock price.

Though these two particular business decisions proved successful for the companies, venturing down roads less traveled doesn’t always pay off. See how 10 companies succeeded — and five failed miserably — when it came to making some noise at Entrepreneur.com.


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