Eclipse and PR Stunt

The Eclipse and Bonnie Tyler Prove the PR Stunt is Alive and Well

Unless you live under a rock, you’ve heard mention of the upcoming solar eclipse 5-10 times an hour for the past week. If not, you can read more about it here and see what it will look like from your backyard. But, did you hear the BIG NEWS? Yes, 80’s rock legend Bonnie Tyler is going to sing, get this, Total Eclipse of the Heart, live, during the actual eclipse! While not all of us can be there to see it, we sure heard about it as over 1000 major publications ran a story about it.* Proving the PR stunt is alive and well.

If you’re not familiar with the song, I recommend hitting play on this video to listen while you continue to read this article.  

At first glance, the successful blending of two worlds into a PR campaign, like an eclipse and an 80s-rock star, feels unlikely. Unless of course, you have an artist with a song about an eclipse (sort of), then the fit is great. Now, imagine you are a travel brand, and you’ve developed an eclipse viewing party tied to a cruise in the Caribbean. Wouldn’t it be amazing to invite Mrs. Tyler aboard to sing her song during the eclipse?

That’s exactly what Royal Caribbean International cruise line did. On Monday, as the world watches the eclipse, the passengers of the “Total Eclipse” cruise will be treated to a live performance of Tyler’s hit song.

Royal Caribbean brilliantly mixed pop culture, a major event, and the news cycle to get worldwide publicity. Which goes to show, with a little ingenuity you can create a PR stunt that will launch your brand to the moon and back (pun intended).

Three tips for creating a memorable PR stunt

  • Align your brand with a big occasion: (AKA newsjacking) Pay attention to the news cycle and look for unusual events or news stories that you can tie to your brand. The connection does not need to be obvious, for example, cruise lines and eclipses are not a natural fit, but the fact that they had a viewing party planned and a stage they could put someone on created an opportunity to get creative.
  • Think outside the box: getting creative and thinking outside the box is the key to making a PR Stunt work. It’s the irreverence, or in this case the meta overload, that makes the news outlets care about a story like this.
  • Go big and make sure it’s a fit: A PR stunt needs to be big enough for the media to care and fit their definition of newsworthiness. As you think of ideas, think about your dream media target and ask yourself if this the type of story that they would cover? Can you imagine seeing this story on their front page? If the answer is no, you probably haven’t thought big enough; the story is not a proper newsworthy fit or both. If that’s the case, often a few tweaks will make it work. For example, Royal Caribbean cruises having an eclipse viewing party alone is not big enough. Having a viewing party and inviting Tyler to sing – that’s huge!

*based on a thorough news search using Meltwater software.