Public relations is known for doing stunts to get publicity. Traditionally they have relied on journalists and media gatekeepers to publish media for them. They have also had to rely on new stations to pick up their story.
With the New Age PR stunts companies don’t need any of that. No need to contact journalists, gatekeepers or worry about buying costly media space.
Companies have found a new way to hone in on the highly digital age that we live in.
I have been thinking a lot recently about the changes that have been made in public relations just over the last five years. Public relations relied so much on others before, but now when it is done right you can have a successful PR stunt done in-house.
The latest PR stunt recently that drove me to write this blog was done by Ubisoft to promote their new game Watch Dogs.
Before you watch the video let me explain about the game in one sentence. The game Watch Dogs is based in future Chicago and the main character can hack into any system using his cell phone, whether than be shutting off lights or changing traffic lights.
In just over two weeks of the video being put on YouTube it has almost 13 million views. There are some video that have gotten more views in the same time period, but this is still impressive.
I can infer that the producers of the video are pleased with the 12.7 millions views, but want more.
These type of videos have been going on for about the last six months. The first one I remember seeing was the Jeff Gordon Pepsi MAX prank. This video has over 43 million views.
People thought that it was fake so they made another video to prove themselves.
I watched the behind the scenes video for the Street Hacks video and there were a lot of factors that played into the video. It was very complicated and intricate.
It may have cost a lot of money to make the video, but they didn’t have to pay for any commercials on TV. They didn’t have to pay thousands of dollars for a TV spot, which people could easily miss if they left the room.
By putting the video on YouTube they are able to know exactly how many people viewed the video. They know that the audience and demographic for Internet use is only growing.
They could have made a commercial and then placed the commercial on YouTube and then have people share that, but why use the middle man? Put it straight on YouTube.
I think that these New Age PR stunts are very effective. I am not saying that traditional media is a waste, but a lot of companies are going in this new direction.
The amazing thing is that people are choosing to watch your PR stunt a.k.a “commercial.” If a friend shares the video people are going to be more likely to watch the video themselves. They will also be more likely to share and mention the video to friends.
If their friends mention it to them they are most likely going type in “Watch Dogs Prank” on Goolge or YouTube, driving their traffic and impression through the roof.
If you look on Google trends, people searching for Watch Dogs has gone up exponentially since April. Check out the picture below.
I think that they are effective for impressions, whether they impact sales or not is a discussion for another day.