The nature of the stunt: Some products and services do not lend themselves to stunts: They are too serious, dangerous or uncontrollable but some come with their stunts. When a manufacturing company introduced its two-wheeled gyroscopically self-balancing vehicle, it held a driving demonstration in the country which was taped and shown the world over. The vehicle in its ability to move on two wheels without falling over was a visual stunt in itself. But not all products come with such built-in publicity value.

The visual: Publicity stunts succeed mostly because they are visual. People see for themselves the wacky or unusual feat being performed and in seeing, they receive the message. Publicity stunts are meant to have a public as a witness. Hence, it is essential for stunts to be visual enough for the public to want to watch.

News value: Publicity stunts feed on the public’s demand for the new and offbeat and by extension, the news media’s desire to feature the new and offbeat. This is why stunts need creativity and novelty that don’t repeat what someone did six months ago.

Results: The payoff of a publicity stunt is positive coverage about the message, whether measurable media or immeasurable word of mouth – talk in the office, in web chat rooms and at parties. A successful stunt speeds up awareness. But it speeds communication of the message, not of the stunt. But, it is hard to know what works and what doesn’t, and that is the risk one takes in doing a stunt. Next time, we will talk about what to put into account when creating a stunt.