What is it?
A media stunt is an activity designed to attract publicity and attention to your cause by doing something novel and newsworthy. The best media stunts lend themselves to being captured in a memorable photo. A banner drop is a simple example of a media stunt.
How do you do it?
- Get creative
In order to ‘sell your story in’ to a media organisation and get them to cover it, you need to make your stunt novel, attention grabbing, shocking or fun. It can’t be something that’s been done 100 times before. For example, campaigners calling for action to regulate tax havens have transformed public spaces into desert islands full of bankers drinking champagne.
- Make sure the picture tells the story
A media stunt should have a photographic moment that creates a memorable image which can be used to illustrate news pieces on future coverage of your issue. For example, imagine if your media stunt was used to illustrate a future news story about a government vote on your issue. Include branding or hashtags in a colourful way to make sure they’re not cut.
- Engage as many people as possible
Get people who support your campaign involved and spread the word to people passing through your leafleting tactic.
- Send your press release the night before
Papers and media outlets will want to take their own pictures or video if your stunt is appealing enough. Send a press release the day before and contact any journalists you’re friendly with even further ahead.
Why and when should you use it?
Media stunts work best at a key strategic moment for your campaign when you want to build public support and pressure decision-makers.
It could be just before decision-makers vote on relevant legislation or discuss your cause in a conference. You could time it to coincide with a company’s annual general meeting where you hope to influence shareholders. Alternatively you might want to connect it to another big news story to leverage attention for your cause in relation to it.
Works best in combination with:
A press release to draw the attention of the journalists on the story.