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PR Stunt Watch: An election (and Ed Davy) special

Launching anything on election week isn’t looked upon fondly by PR agencies, or the journalists that we have to sell into. By the time you’re reading this, we should be going to the polls to vote, already voted or elected a new parliament (depending on your time of reading).

But the road we’ve been on is one for the history books: from the classic milkshake throwing, to providing the media with refreshments all whilst Ed Davey has the time of his life. The political parties rinsed their playbooks clean, and here are a few of the best ‘stunts’ that happened during the campaigns.

Led by Donkey’s hijack Nigel Farage’s speech

Political activists, Led By Donkeys, have a habit of making those in charge look a bit red faced and they’ve been doing some top-notch stunts for a very long time, because they’ve been given so much material, I guess. Their latest foray into the political landscape was hijacking Farage’s latest speech, lowering a picture of Putin with “I heart Nigel” embezzled across the bottom and, without getting into the whole “what can we learn from this” conversation, who doesn’t love a reactive topical moment like this that gets us all talking?

Ordinary man does ordinary things

@ub1ub2media Rishi Sunak practices being a McDonald's worker ahead of the general election this Thursday 🇬🇧 #UB1UB2 ♬ original sound - UB1UB2

In the follow up to filling up his car with petrol a few years ago that went down a storm, Rishi was back, this time adamant to prove that he is an ordinary man of the people by ticking off the top of the political playbook: providing food and drinks for the travelling press. We saw BoJo bring out tea and biscuits, but this time we got Rishi in a McDonalds. As the Conversative bus stopped off in Beaconsfield, the man himself stepped into ‘Maccies’ and put in a big order — we are unsure if he paid by contactless or not — with rival fast food chain Burger King quick to jump on the story as usual. What was brilliant about this was that he actually followed it up with a bit of a genius tweet. Cast your mind back two years ago, whilst doing a This Morning sofa interview. Rishi claimed his favourite food item from McDonalds was the Breakfast Wrap which had, at the time, been discontinued. It’s recently come back, so to the social media team who trawled all the way back to find a 2022 article for the quote retweet paired with the copy “I love a comeback,” fair play. 

Ed’s super summer tour

I don’t really know where to start with this one, or which one is my favourite. Ed Davey has been having the time of his life during this election campaign, from bungee jumps to tractor racing and even a ride on the tea cups. There’s not much Ed hasn’t done to try and get our attention.

I’ve personally enjoyed seeing red top sub-editors come up with incredible pun-filled headlines based around whatever Ed is up to. It has highlighted that political stunts are key to a strong election campaign and to give him and his team credit, it has worked. The sentiment might have shifted around the seriousness of Ed, away from the LibDem party, causing people to just look forward to the “where’s Ed next” story, but it keeps them in the media, trending on social and being spoken about in the pub — the exact results you would want from any successful PR campaign. I for one can’t wait to see Ed and his team at the next PRMoment awards.

Labour opened Rishi’s Mega Mortgages

Labour haven’t really been very ‘stunty’ so to speak during this campaign, but they did give it a good old go with proper PR-101: building a pop-up shop that, funnily enough like a lot of PR pop-up shops, wasn't actually open to the general public.

It was a faux estate agent, with the tagline “every deal will make you worse off” across it and set up to look like a wheeler-dealer dodgy estate agent from the 70’s. But, it just played host to the backdrop of a political speech during the campaign tour. There’s not much more to say about it. It was nice?

Sh*t in the Seine

@abcnewsaus Paresians are threatening to poop in the iconic River Siene to protest billions spent on cleaning it up ahead of the Olympics. Grace McKinnon for ABC News Digital. To personalise your news & stay in the know, download the ABC News app via the link our bio. #Paris #ABCNews ♬ original sound - ABC News Australia

I’m going to hop over the Channel to our dear neighbours, France, for my final piece-de-resistance as I absolutely loved this bit of political protesting from ‘French Twitter'. If anyone can protest, it’s the French.

Ahead of the summer of sport (again, we can’t say the O word) the leaders of France came under fire for claiming they’ve cleaned up the River Seine ahead of the Games. After all, some of the events are taking place in the river, it only makes sense to clean it up before you send elite athletes to compete in there… right?

Wrong. Apparently they haven’t cleaned up the river enough and it’s still full of sh*t, and it sounds quite familiar to problems over here. As a result, the Paris Mayor, Hidalgo, and President, Macron announced that they were prepared to swim in the river to prove just how clean it was. French Twitter then aptly created the hashtag #JeChieDansLaSeineLe23Juin translation: I sh*t in the Seine on 23 June which quickly formed into what can only be known as a ‘sh*t flashmob’

This microsite was created to spread awareness of the the cause and help calculate exactly where and when people could sh*t into the river so that their waste would arrive in the exact spot where Macro and Hidalgo would be swimming. It grew so much momentum that unfortunately neither Macron nor Hidalgo did the swim and the river still remains unswimmable because of pollution levels.

Written by

Lee Sanders, associate director at Frank

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