Publicity Stunts

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Joaquin Phoenix Pranks David Letterman Again

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Filed under: Media Pranks, Pranksters, Publicity Stunts, The History of Pranks

phoenixlettermanWhen he retires from television in 2015, David Letterman will wrap a remarkable career of stunts, water-cooler bombshells, and awkward celebrity interviews.

In some cases, Letterman has been seemingly ambushed by guests who were physically combative (Crispin Glover), doped out of their gourds (Farrah Fawcett, Harmony Korine), or simply engaging in the unhinged antics that are their calling cards (Courtney Love, who inspired the host to quip, “I’m glad I have a son.”)

In others, the hosts and his guests have worked in collaboration. Witness the legendary encounter between comedian Andy Kaufman and wrestler Jerry Lawler.

More recently, actor Joaquin Phoenix used a disturbing and incoherent Letterman appearance to promote his controversial documentary I’m Still Here, for which he embarked on a half-assed hip hop career. Letterman later admitted that he was in on the gag.

Earlier this month, Phoenix returned to the show to announce that, like Alec Baldwin before him, he had decided to marry his yoga instructor. Read more here.

Watch the video:

TV Viewers Disappointed to Not See Host Eaten Alive

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Filed under: Publicity Stunts, Spin

Promotional materials for the Discovery Channel program Eaten Alive led some viewers to expect that they would see host Paul Rosolie devoured by a wild anaconda. When he wasn’t, animal-rights activists and passive sadists alike expressed dismay.


‘Eaten Alive’ Watched by 4.1 Million Viewers
by Lynn Elber
ABCNews
December 8, 2014

eaten aliveLOS ANGELES (AP) – Discovery Channel’s “Eaten Alive” special that pitted snake against man drew more than 4 million viewers, but not all considered it time well spent.

Although the title and a promotional video indicated that naturalist Paul Rosolie would be swallowed by a giant anaconda, Sunday’s pre-taped special didn’t go that far.

Rosolie, described by Discovery as a snake researcher and conservationist, ended his Amazon jungle encounter with the snake after it encircled his body and began squeezing. Wearing bulky protective gear, Rosolie escaped with a sore arm but uneaten.

Online, some viewers jeered the show for falling short of its promise. One posting showed a photo of a mild-looking dog nibbling on a person’s finger, accompanied by a request for their own Discovery show. (more…)

Instant Fried Shrimp Machine [Japanese]

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Filed under: Publicity Stunts, Satire

Brought to you by Docomo Wireless Carrier to promote the high-speed capability of their new LTE network…

Watch the video

via Yahoo News

Improv Everywhere: The Pirates of Central Park

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Filed under: Publicity Stunts

From Charlie Todd of Improv Everywhere:


The Pirates of Central Park

For our latest mission, we staged a pirate invasion on the Central Park Lake, converting a rowboat rental into a pirate ship. Actors dressed as pirates from Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean attraction set sail on the lake, searching for the keys to their treasure chest. The pirates interrogated the New Yorkers and tourists on other rowboats and by the shore, much to their delight.

Enjoy the video and then go behind the scenes with our mission report and photos.

Created and Directed by Charlie Todd / Produced by: Deverge / Music by Tyler Walker

Reinflating the Balloon Boy Hoax

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Filed under: Publicity Stunts, The History of Pranks

Reality-TV-obsessed Richard Heene, whose theatrical Balloon Boy hoax transfixed the nation back in 2009, is back in the media. His son Falcon (the one everyone thought was accidentally in the homemade “flying saucer” when it took off) and his brothers have formed a band and written a song called “Balloon Hoax No Hoax.”

When you’re out of helium, try hot air…


Watch the video:

Read an interview with the family from qz.com, “Catching Up With Balloon Boy and His Family, Five Years Later”

The Case for Giving Andy Kaufman a Rest

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Filed under: Fact or Fiction?, Publicity Stunts, The History of Pranks, The World of the Prank

It’s 30 years later and Bob Zmuda, writing partner of the legendary prankster Andy Kaufman, won’t let his friend continue his quiet rendezvous with Elvis. Washington Post writer, Amy Argetsinger, ponders whether stoking decades-old rumors that Kaufman faked his death discredits the man and the astounding pranks he pulled while he was among us.


“Andy Kaufman: Why It’s Time to Celebrate the Comic and Bury the Death Hoax”
by Amy Argetsinger
Washington Post
October 9, 2014

Here we go again.

Thirty years after Andy Kaufman died too young of cancer — cutting short a brief, sensational career that changed the face of American comedy, and maybe even American irony — the old Andy Kaufman death-hoax theory is back.

It’s new and improved for the Internet era, going viral now that the ragtag community of Andy Truthers has been joined by a credentialed ally, Kaufman’s longtime writing partner Bob Zmuda. In a new book co-authored by Kaufman’s girlfriend Lynne Margulies, Zmuda recalls years of conversations in which his friend outlined plans to exit show business by faking his own death.

“He said to keep a lid on it for 30 years,” says Zmuda in a phone interview. “It’s 30 years now. . . . What I’m doing is sending a telegram to Andy: It’s time to come in from the cold.” (more…)

Hazmat Suited Doctor Brings it Home

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Filed under: Creative Activism, Publicity Stunts

From CNN, October 5, 2014:

Doctor Gilbert Mobley wore a hazmat suit and strolled through the world’s busiest airport to make a point about Ebola.

Watch the video – Doctor: The CDC is lying about Ebola

Jasmine’s Jugs

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Filed under: Fact or Fiction?, Publicity Stunts

Update, September 23, 2014: BUSTED! Snopes.com exposes this titillating hoax.


Intent on getting an MTV reality show, Jasmine Tridevil (not her real name) gets a third breast implanted on her chest…


Jasmine Tridevil Gets Third Boob ‘Because I Don’t Want To Date Anymore’
by Andy Campbell
The Huffington Post
September 22, 2014

A Florida woman spent $20,000 to get a third boob surgically implanted on her chest in a twisted attempt to look less attractive to men.

Jasmine Tridevil

“I don’t want to date anymore,” Jasmine Tridevil, 21, said in a recent radio broadcast when asked why she added the extra mammary complete with an artificial nipple and tattoo to resemble an areola.

But she’s still proud of the triple nipple.

(more…)

A Rough Week for Celebrities: Recap

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Filed under: Creative Activism, Practical Jokes and Mischief, Publicity Stunts

This week, a major Hollywood star faces repercussions for a public stunt, while another remains with us despite a death hoax.

bettywhite

via Flickr

The satirical website EmpireNews.net caused a brief scare with a pun about beloved actress Betty White “dyeing.” In light of the very real passing of comedian Joan Rivers, the goof caused understandable alarm.


from NBC 5 San Diego

from NBC 5 San Diego

Meanwhile, Steve-O, a star of the Jackass franchise, is facing criminal charges for defacing a sign directing Southern California motorists to Sea World. With the horrifying scandals that have lately surrounded the aquatic amusement park, Sea World must be particularly sensitive about its reputation.

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: Best Fails So Far

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Filed under: Creative Activism, Publicity Stunts

The “Fight ALS (aka Lou Gehrigs Disease) with the Ice Bucket Challenge” campaign has been wildly successful, raising more than $94 Million dollars in just a few months to help raise awareness and find a cure for this debilitating disease. Millions of people all over the world have been videotaped letting someone pour ice water over their heads (or doing it themselves). And in their enthusiasm, there have been some spectacular fails:


What Shall I Be When I Grow Up? Joey Skaggs!

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Filed under: Art Pranks, Pranksters, Publicity Stunts

Sal Cataldi, founder and president of Cataldi PR, reminisces for MediaBistro about early influences on his impressionable brain…


What Shall I Be When I Grow Up? Joey Skaggs!
by Sal Cataldi
Media Bistro
August 25, 2014

What makes you want to be what you want to be when you grow up?

Joey Skaggs (right) in his Celebrity Sperm Bank hoax, 1976

Like many a person with eclectic interests (writing, music, art, travel and, yes, cash) and the fuzzy liberal arts degree to prove it, I ventured off into the world of periadulthood with nary a clue as to what I would do to house and feed myself, much less the wonderful children I would be fortunate enough to have.

My professional calling didn’t arrive until my late mid-20s, after a few years spent bumming around the animation and video businesses, playing in rock bands and writing record reviews for freebie vinyl. That’s when I stumbled into the broad world that goes by the narrow moniker of “public relations.” Read the rest of this article here.


Lily Allen’s Instagram Prank Backfires

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Filed under: Publicity Stunts

An ambitious prankster sometimes needs an assist from co-conspirators with some leverage. But those people may have more to lose.

British pop singer Lily Allen has a long history of orchestrated controversy and publicity stunts, but her latest online jape may have put jobs at risk.

According to The New Zealand Herald, Allen landed at Gold Coast airport in Australia and apparently convinced security personnel to cuff her and pretend to arrest her. She posted this picture to her Instagram account with the tag “#uhoh.”

Lily Allen in handcuffs

This photo of Lily Allen in handcuffs has been removed from Instagram.

It got thousands of “likes,” but it’s gone now. And airport authorities say the incident is being “investigated internally.” Allen, for her part, is in the clear and free to continue spreading her unpredictable brand of sass.

Danish Parliament’s Message: Vote or Else! [English & Danish]

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Filed under: Publicity Stunts, Truth that's Stranger than Fiction

This cartoon was intended to encourage young people to vote in the European elections and was published on the Danish Parliament’s YouTube channel.

votemancartoon

In it, a superhero called Voteman finds himself in bed with a group of women before jetting off on a pair of dolphin waterskis to punch and kick non-voters all the way to the polling station. The video was withdrawn the day after its launch after a barrage of criticism…

Watch the video:

2014 April Fools’ Day Pranks: For Love AND Money

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Filed under: Prank News, Pranksters, Publicity Stunts

It’s already April Fools’ Day somewhere:


1. Google is seeking the world’s best Pokemon Master:

Google Maps Pokémon Challenge-425

Watch the video:

2. USA Today reports on some of this year’s April Fools’ brand PR stunts, including Cheetos perfume; Matching outfits for people & their pets by American Eagle Outfitters; Bras for cats from True & Co; BuildDirect’s edible chocolate flooring; Eagle caught salmon from FreshDirect; USB powered finger-sized irons for your underwear from Fruit of the Loom; Tic Tac’s shakeless packs for your mints, because “No shake, no share”

cheetau-425

3. The Pirate Bay kicks off April Fools’ Day early, announces device to ‘embrace your entire mind’

“After years of being driven from domain to domain, and finally into the cloud, TPB is making its final move…. into your mind.”

In cooperation with russian, israeli and japanese neuro scientists, we are developing a device that will embrace your entire mind. Using laser projections directly onto the retina it’ll no longer be any resolution but 100%. The sound will be delivered in a range from 12Hz to 79kHz and will cancel all noise from the outside world.

4. Lifehacker presents: April Fools’ Day 2014 Spoilers: All The Geek Pranks Revealed, including Pet-Fi, wireless service powered by your pet kinetic energy and a dating site that matches couples based on their shopping habits.

John Oliver’s Political Parody Ads

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Filed under: Parody, Political Pranks, Publicity Stunts

Last Week Tonight, John Oliver’s soon-to-debut new comedy show, took aim at the GOP’s new ad campaign aimed at “hip” young Republicans on their YouTube channel. Here are two videos parodying their look-alike counterparts, which can be seen here and here.

Watch the videos:

More info:

  • Republicans Are Going After Dissatisfied Hipsters, Minorities, and Women in a New Ad Campaign, Slate
  • First on CNN: RNC makes play for unhappy Obama voters in new ad buy, CNN