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PR Stunt Watch: Alton Towers - The Return of Nemesis Reborn

Credit: The Nemesis Reborn Alien eye stunt in Cannock Chase, Merlin entertainments

I shamelessly love rollercoasters and while Colossus at Thorpe Park remains my personal favourite in the UK, Nemesis at Alton Towers is my Arsenal - consistently a top six contender.

However, in keeping with this Arsenal metaphor - Nemesis has just had a rebrand. A new track formation, a new outlook and a new identity. It is no longer just Nemesis, it is Nemesis Reborn and it is gunning for the title as the UK’s best rollercoaster.

This is big news, and a big stunt is required, so step forward, Smoking Gun Agency and a giant case of pink eye. Situated over notorious alien hotspot Cannock Chase, a 7m alien eye was seen glowing above the Staffordshire countryside. This is clever for two reasons; firstly, it reintroduces the storyline of Nemesis - a giant alien that has escaped the clutches of The Phalanx, a mysterious organisation tasked with stopping giant aliens from escaping its clutches.

Secondly, aliens are up there with potholes and seagulls in terms of topics that the UK media just can’t get enough of and sure enough, this giant eye was seen by a lot of people. Over 100 pieces of national and regional coverage were secured, as well as out-of-this-world numbers on Alton Towers’ socials. All of the coverage pointed towards the March 16th relaunch date, and a quick check on the Alton Towers website shows signs of a sell-out. This giant eye did more than eyeballs, it did bums in rollercoaster seats.


Bloo - Public toilet makeovers

The second stunt is a load of crap. Literally.

Public toilets are not usually the source of inspiration for PR executions, but when you are doing the PR for Bloo - the toilet care experts - there can be no finer setting.

To my astonishment, people leave google reviews on toilets (editors note: they should be called poogle reviews) and so the good folk at Bloo sent TikTok influencers Cal and Therese Ryan to visit the worst public toilets and give them a Bloo loo makeover.

Because I’m so cool, hip and young - I saw this on TikTok first. But because I’m in my mid-30s, I immediately thought it was wasted as a social only idea - this is exactly the sort of idea that gets national coverage. Disgraceful toilets are up there with seagulls, potholes and aliens in terms of topics that the UK media just can’t get enough of and sure enough, there was loads of earned PR coverage too.

Simple, effective and product at the heart of it - this is one stunt that puts some added lush into the flush.

@thereseryan12 AD - As you know Callum and I went around the UK to find the best and worst public loo - so I decided I would go and visit Callum’s toilet at his new flat - All I can say is thank goodness for @Bloo_uk and their new Spa Moments rim blocks - I definitely bloo'd that loo! His toilet now smells like mine at home, a haven to enjoy and as fragrant as a mini spa! Where would you like us to go next? #BlooThatLoo #BlooSpaMoments #comedy #harmony @Callum Ryan ♬ original sound - Therese Ryan


Leap Year Stunts

I’ve always considered February 29th as the thinking man’s April Fool’s Day in PR circles and though there were no massive executions, there were some really smart ones.

Who Gives A Crap? - An Australian toilet paper company - won Linkedin with their decision to give employees the day off. While the rest of us don’t get paid for working 366 days a year, their employees will still work a 365-day year. It absolutely banged on LinkedIn, but also converted into an avalanche of earned coverage too. A fine example of an enterprising social enterprise turning progressive policy into PR.

In a similar vein, London PR agency SHOOK launched its ‘Leap Forward’ initiative, which aims to give an extra day to charitable causes. They provided free creative and strategic counsel to Facial Therapy Specialists International - a charity that helps improve care for people with facial palsy and Climate Outreach - a collective of climate campaigners. Not strictly a stunt, but innovative and enjoyable.

This week's PR Stunt Watch was written by Greg Double, Creative Director at Mischief PR.

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