The Queen Bey of Publicity Stunts

Know any Beyoncé fans? Well, I can tell you what every one of their relatives will be giving them for Christmas!


Beyoncé (or Queen Bey as she is known by her fans) has been all over the news lately for two big publicity stunts.

Publicity Stunt #1: No Publicity is Good Publicity

You all know the story about the Beyoncé’s most recent album launch. Recording 14 tracks and 18 video clips in secret and then all of a sudden releasing the album on iTunes without any build-up or even awareness it was happening caused social media across the world to explode last Friday 13th December.

By keeping the album hidden, a strange phenomenon happened. Usually there would have been plenty of discussion about the impending album with friends and hypothesising about tracks, collaborators and leaks. But because there wasn’t any build-up, the energy that would have gone into this discussion over a few months was released in a matter of minutes as everyone was talking about the surprise album across Twitter and Facebook. Ultimately causing mass hysteria (and enormous amounts of free word-of-mouth promotion) surrounding the new album and prompting her huge fan base to download the album immediately!

And it worked.

The new album hit No. 1 in 104 countries across the world. It also broke iTunes record for most albums sold in the first week – reaching 828,773 sales within three days of release.

But a great publicity stunt is not without the nay-sayers. Target and Amazon have taken offence to the digital release of the album, refusing to stock the physical copy in their stores (Amazon is still selling the digital copy but without promotion on their website).  Enter the second publicity stunt . . .

Publicity Stunt #2: Available at all Good Retailers

After the new album was released with suspiciously good timing for relatives looking for Christmas gifts, self-titled Beyoncé would have suddenly solved their gift problems. But in order to make a practical gift, it must be bought in physical form.

Target failing to stock the album could cause many issues for Christmas sales as people turn up to their music department and leave buying another popular new release when they can’t find Beyoncé. But Beyoncé has an answer to that . . .

The night after her concert in New York, Beyoncé turned up at a Walmart in Tewksbury, Massachusetts to buy presents for her daughter as well as a physical copy of her own album. And being the generous person that she is provided everybody in the store with a $50 Walmart giftcard – totalling $37,500. That act of Christmas goodwill was enough of a publicity stunt to get her plastered all over newspapers, websites and television broadcasts (even in Australia) advertising the fact that while the album may not be available at Target you can certainly buy it from Walmart.

And the whole publicity campaign for these two events cost $37,500 which is peanuts compared to what is usually spent!

Very clever, Beyoncé.