Nothing says publicity stunt like a 700 person choir!

Whatever industry you look at, publicity stunts are continuing to become the norm when it comes to the promotion of new products. But there are publicity stunts and then there are PUBLICITY STUNTS. The former consists of something that just gets a couple of news stories, the latter has a ‘ripple effect’ through the market. Which one would I look at?


Of course it is going to be the ‘ripple effect’ one! If there is nothing long-term about the stunt, then you should probably think harder, unless the product isn’t long-term, but that is a question for another day.

The revival of Pippin took this idea to heart when thinking about how to launch their new cast album. And boy, did they pull out all the stops on this stunt . . .

One of the songs in the soundtrack, ‘No Time At All’, breaks the fourth wall of the theatre nightly. The song calls for an audience sing-a-long in the chorus while Andrea Martin swings around on a trapeze. It is very impressive when you realise she is 66 and still trapezing nightly!

What better way to record this for the album than recreating the moment with your own 700 voice choir? Especially when the choir is made up of 700 hard-core fans from the Manhattan region.

Now, this stunt definitely created the buzz of a publicity stunt. It generated a lot of news stories before the event encouraging people to sign up, during the event with videos and reports broadcast around the internet and after the event with articles reminding people of the stunt in the week of the cast album release. But it also managed to progress from an ordinary publicity stunt to an extraordinary PUBLICITY STUNT!

How? You may ask. Well, because this stunt actually increased the brand loyalty of those in the choir, and how can you take advantage of brand loyalty?

Give them something to flog to their friends and family!

Let’s do the math here . . .

Each of those 700 people would have bought the cast album the day it came out. So we have 700 extra sales.

Most probably, those 700 people also have a mother sitting at home waiting for their child to become famous or the choristers might have children looking to suck up to their parents by purchasing the cast recording on which they were featured. Let’s say on average 2.5 people per chorister are this close and buy the album. That takes us up to 2,450.

Now add on all the people who are subject to the choristers’ incessant self-promotion through Facebook updates that read ‘Check out this album that I helped to record’ and Twitter updates that tweet ‘Pippin cast album is out. If you love me you will get a copy’. And while online is effective, you also have to take into account the personal word-of-mouth spread at schools, workplaces, community groups etc. etc. etc.

Now, not all of these people will purchase the album but a lot will go on and at least download the specific track. And that leads to a lot of purchases!

So now you see. There are publicity stunts and there are PUBLICITY STUNTS that actually turn the brand loyal customers into ambassadors that actively promote the brand. And this Pippin example shows just that!