Spanish village painted blue for smurf PR stunt

By May 28, 2015General

For this post, we thought we’d look at a hugely successful PR stunt by Sony Pictures, which demonstrates how powerful PR can be – not only to a brand, but to the wider economy.

In a region of Southern Spain where the villages are traditionally painted bright white, there is one exception – the settlement of Júzcar, which, in response to being chosen to host the premier of the Smurfs in 3D, was painted entirely in blue.

Locals from the traditional Andalucian village agreed to the colour change when approached by Sony Pictures in 2011, as part of a major PR stunt. The village attracted an unprecedented amount of attention as a result.

The villagers were so grateful for the unexpected boost in tourism that they voted to keep the blue exterior after the film’s premiere.

Thanks to the PR stunt, Júzcar continues to attract hordes of tourists today. Over 400,000 people have visited since the makeover, which is an insane number for a town of under 300 people.

As a direct result of public interest, the village of Juzcar (which is 13 miles from the historic town of Ronda), has hit the headlines again – this time with the news that it is to receive a £37million investment to create the world’s first Smurf theme park.
City council officials say that the park will create 200 jobs, which is nearly double the city’s population by the time it’s finished, and hopes to reel in £11 million a year in tourism. Project managers say that they hope the family theme park will appeal to families with children aged two to 12.
While the Smurfs – originally the creation of Belgian comics artist Pierre Culliford – have enjoyed huge success as toys, television, film and video game characters, the Spanish theme park would be the world’s only such location dedicated to the little creatures.

However, Júzcar was not the only one to benefit from the hype surrounding the Smurfs movie. According to Sony Pictures, the PR stunt even set a Guinness World Record. To hype up the film’s release further, Sony Pictures introduced a Global Smurfs Day, where people around the world were encouraged to dress up as the lovable blue characters and take part in a Guinness World Record attempt, for the ‘most people dressed as Smurfs globally’.

On the day the studio proclaimed World Smurf Day, 4,891 people around the world gathered and dressed as their blue heroes.

The world’s media was captivated by the eye-catching PR stunt, resulting in global media coverage estimated to be worth 15 million euros.

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