Even if you’re not a PR / Marketing professional, chances are you’ve heard of the phrase ‘publicity stunt.’

A publicity stunt is a planned event, idea or concept that marketers use to attract the public’s attention, often taking the form of something hyper creative, controversial or even a little bit ridiculous. The whole purpose of a publicity stunt is to create a buzz, to get people talking, and essentially, to create action. And the best part is that publicity stunts might not even need to eventuate…as long as the idea gets people talking, you’ve succeeded!

Whilst publicity stunts have been around for decades and are employed across both the profit and not-for-profit sectors, in today’s technology driven world, a publicity stunt is an incredible tactic that brands can employ to drive moments of shareability, creating something that is incredibly engaging and has the potential to go viral.

So, today we will be rounding up some of the biggest publicity stunts of 2022 – and these were chosen as campaigns/launches that generated high volumes of talkability.


I think it’s a safe bet to say that Rowan Atkinson is beloved by all. Whether you’re a Mr Bean, Jonny English or Blackadder fan, Rowan has a way of warming our hearts with his hilarious mannerisms and dry, slapstick humour. But what if he was also helping to save the environment too? #Dreamboat

When Netflix released its new TV series featuring Atkinson called ‘Man Vs. Bee’, clever marketers from Netflix and The British Bee Charity decided they would use this as an opportunity to bring some awareness to the declining honeybee hives and endangered bee communities.

The British Bee Charity produced pop-up ‘Growing Atkinson’ Flower Displays outside St Paul’s Cathedral in London, featuring life-size statues of Rowan surrounded by fresh pollen and nectar-rich wildflowers. City-goers could walk past the display during the time of the launch and take photos, whilst also gaining further education about ways to support the endangered species.

While the jury is still out on the specific impact of this campaign, more than 10k people flocked to St Paul’s Cathedral to have photos with the Growin Atkinson displays, and after the pop-up was completed, all those gardens were then donated to the British Bee Charity in order to help rebuild the hives once again.


The fact that in 2022 women’s breasts can still be controversial, beats me.  But for some reason, people find topless women a very divisive issue, particularly in marketing. Well, Adidas attempted to combat this outdated stigma by generating a poster featuring 25 various breasts in different shapes, tones and sizes to promote their newly re-engineered line of sports bras.

Unfortunately for Adidas, as predicted, this led to significant backlash across traditional and social media, with many people feeling it was incendiary and designed only to get people talking, not to actually drive any form of change in marketing acceptability. While its success might be controversial, the campaign went global and their new range has flown off the shelves…so… we say…. ‘tit for tat’ perhaps?   


We all have our least-favourite Favourite chocolate, am I right? Yes, I’m looking at you Turkish Delight…

Well, Celebrations Chocolate Boxes in the UK decided to remove Bounty chocolates from their packs in a trial over Christmas. Their research found that a third of consumers didn’t like coconut, so they announced it would be removing this classic chocolate from their boxes…much to the outcry of consumers. You can check out some of our favourite tweets below.

However, it was never actually going to happen. Instead, Celebrations removed Bounty’s from a few select boxes that were being sent to pop-up stores, but overall, the entire press release was a complete fabrication! For a very simple stunt, it had an astronomical response, with media all over the world covering the story, major news commentators starting petitions to bring the Bounty back, and the social media response was huge across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

And in an even funnier twist of events, people thought that the brand ‘listened to their outcry’ and brought the Bounty back, when the reality was, it never got removed in the first place…gotta admit, some evil genius marketing right there!


We love a good marketing stunt close to home…and that’s what beloved beer brand Furphy did in one Sydney laneway.

Furphy as a brand, prides itself on its storytelling, and so their ‘What The Truck’ campaign aimed to get people talking about their new Furphy Crisp Lager, by putting a large beer truck installation into a small laneway, thus blocking access to pedestrians.

The activation was designed to ignite both the digital and analogue forums, with people talking, sharing and taking photos of their disbelief in a genuine ‘what the truck’ experience. I love this concept as it is incredibly simple and yet creates a massive talking point, whilst also keeping the branding of the new product front and centre.


Okay, don’t @ me! I personally believe that while well-intentioned, the Metaverse was one of the biggest PR stunts of 2022, in that I don’t believe there was much more to it than trying to help promote Mark Zuckerberg’s rebrand of the Facebook world and help continue to grow the interest in the virtual world. It was over-promised and under-delivered, with the interest in the Metaverse declining nearly as quickly as it was built.   

Thought leaders and entrepreneurs will always be at the forefront of many publicity stunts, because often their ability to cast vision and sell-in ideas is strong and amasses a huge cult following. But beware of being swept up in the big ideas, as with the Metaverse we have seen the company lose 50% of its profits, its stock prices reduce massively in several months, and investors pulling out left, right and centre.

If you’re looking for any more publicity stunt inspiration, you can check out some of Agent99’s recent case studies, or get in touch with us today to see how we might be able to create some buzz for your brand in 2023.

Agent Em