Article | 01 Jun 2017

Five start-up PR stunts to inspire you

Posted in Industry news, Startups,

Getting your start-up noticed isn’t easy when you’re competing with big brands and big budgets. Sometimes it takes doing something a little bit crazy to cut through the noise.

PR stunts are a fantastic way of capturing the attention of the media and raising the profile of what you do. They don’t have to be expensive, but the best ones are creative, brave, and a little bit shameless!

Here are a few of our favourites to inspire you:

Turning a copyright dispute around to your advantage

Insurtech start-up and personal insurance app, Brolly, was faced with a shock when another brand threatened legal action over its umbrella logo. But instead of rolling over quietly, Brolly’s founders realised it was a great opportunity for some free PR, launching a crowdfunding campaign to find a new design. With coverage in the Financial Times, various trade titles and lots of social buzz, Brolly received over 300 logo entries from its community and the public. The new logo was announced at an exclusive launch party, and as a final twist, Brolly chose one of the simplest suggestions – keep the same logo, but flip it upside down!

Data, feathers and tech innovation

Paris-based environmental tech start-up Plume Labs, wanted to raise awareness of its pollution sensor and app, while also alerting Londoners to the high levels of pollution in the Capital. To do so, it called in the help of some feathered friends – 10 pigeons wearing small pollution monitoring backpacks! The Pigeon Air Patrol was given the mission of flying over London to monitor pollution levels in different areas, while simultaneously posting live updates on Twitter. Members of the public could even tweet the pigeons directly for an instant update on pollution at their location. The idea was a massive hit, generating 2,000 global news stories and nearly 40,000 conversations online.

An April Fool that went wrong (but also right!)

The founders of start-up banjo manufacturer, The Great British Banjo Company, did what lots of companies do when April 1st is approaching - they dreamt up an amusing, and not in the least bit believable, story to send out for April Fool’s Day. They thought their effort – that the company was going to build a 50-metre high “Banjo of the East” – was suitably “ridiculous”. However, the idea backfired when eight days later, the Eastern Daily Press published it as a serious story in its business section. The start-up later apologised for the mix-up, but actually seemed pretty chuffed with the attention. The gaff helped the story reach an even wider audience, with subsequent coverage in various titles, including The Guardian.

Courting controversy

Scottish craft beer brand Brewdog doesn’t shy away from controversy, once describing itself as “post-punk, apocalyptic, motherfucker of a craft brewery”. So, when the brand’s founders, James Watt and Martin Dickie, launched their crowdfunding campaign, ‘Equity for Punks’, a simple press release wasn’t going to cut it. Instead, the duo hired a full-sized army tank, which they proceeded to drive around the Bank of England, with a crowd of beer fans in tow. Needless to say, they reached their funding target of £4m in no time.

Transforming your brand into an experience

CharlieHR wanted to bring its HR software offering to life, while also encouraging London’s workers to take a holiday, with research showing that 73 percent don’t use all their annual leave. To raise awareness of its campaign, the start-up had a brainwave, creating its own pop-up beach in Old Street tube station, where they would give workers an ‘instant holiday’. They even partnered with Koko Kanu to create a free rum bar and had virtual reality headsets to get people in the mood. The three-day stunt was a success, getting the brand noticed by thousands of commuters on their way to work, as well as being talked about in target media and on social.

Thinking of creating a PR stunt to get people talking about your start-up? Then find out how a freelancer or freelance team from The Work Crowd can help. Give us a call on 0207 632 8809 or dropping us a line at to discuss your needs in more detail.


Tagged in startups,