Car PR stunts rule. Whether it’s taking the 1997 Rolls Royce on a rugged 620-mile trek, or volunteering a gaggle of Mini Coopers for Italian heists, the auto industry has always loved its PR stunts. And they continue to grab headlines today.
Here are five of the wildest car PR stunts that got the world talking:
When Mercedes Benz UK released the C-Class Coupe in 2011, they decided to launch it with a big PR stunt. They created a game called ‘The Escape Map’ where players were trapped in Google Streetview and had to find a portal using clues as well as the model’s sat-nav in order to escape. The players needed to complete the game as quickly as possible for a chance to win a Mercedes C-Class Coupe.
To launch their newest small car, Chevrolet built a 90-foot structure out of shipping containers and placed a Chevy Sonic on top. The car moved slowly towards the edge of the building on a gear system that related to the number of clicks generated from viewers – (who had interacted with their ‘Let’s Do This’ website). After 2.4 million clicks, the vehicle was pushed off the platform and performed a bungee jump.
In order to increase test drives of its Porsche 911 Carrera S, Porshe drove the car around an affluent neighbourhood and took pictures of it driving off homeowners’ drives.
They printed the photos and made them part of a personlised direct mail shot to the home owners. The PR stunt had a 32% response rate, which was way over the average 2% response that direct mail usually receives.
In 1993, the media went crazy over this strange crop circle, found in a field outside of Johannesburg. Whilst speculation about UFO’s abounded, only a few noted that it was actually a BMW logo.
After all the free publicity on TV and Newspapers, a TV advert was aired, showing aerial views of the circle accompanied by the tag-line, “Perhaps there is intelligent life out there after all”. Brilliant.
Toyota didn’t blast off into space exactly, but it pulled off a pretty amazing feat with this epic PR stunt. In order to demonstrate the immense power of its Toyota Tundra, (a half-ton pickup truck), a stunt driver used the truck to tow the 300,000-pound Endeavour space shuttle the last quarter-mile bit of a cross-country journey to its final resting place – the California Science Centre.
In addition to raising Toyota’s profile, the stunt raised funds for the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Centre.
So you can see how car PR stunts can not only cause a stir, but also dramatically boost the profile of a new product.
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