Eccentric tech billionaires shooting money into the sky, brands out for a viral video win and fast food companies desperate to prove themselves as tech innovators: When it comes to publicity stunts, the tech world has well and truly delivered over the years.
So who won? Who lost? And whose desperate and thinly veiled attempts to appear "with-it" might have actually worked?
SpaceX sends a sports car into space
How does Elon Musk know his Tesla is faster than everybody else's? Because he . The CEO of SpaceX and Tesla won the gold medal in synergy advertising two cutting-edge brands at once and filling space and automotive nerds around the world with delight. Your move, NASA.
Was Elon deprived of toys as a child? When he's not playing with space cars (see above), he'sto promote The Boring Company, which he also runs. Excellent. Now people on the internet can start literal flame wars.
Red Bull's Space Jump
When your MO is selling carbonated caffeine, you have to live the brand. So you send extreme skydiver Felix Baumgartner, get him to jump from a tiny capsule, and break the speed of sound on his freefall. Once you take out the cost of sending a man 128,000 feet (about 24 miles) above the surface of the Earth in a balloon, that's some good free publicity!
The Human-Flying Drone
Take one YouTube influencer (Casey Neistat), dress him up as Santa and get him to snowboard through Finland attached to a massive Samsung gets a viral sensation.. Sure, it makes for a good video. But get him to record the whole thing on a Gear 360 camera and
When you live halfway between the UK and Iceland, it's hard to get Google Streetview to map your town. That was the issue facing the Faroe Islands. So the island's tourist body strapped 360-degree cameras to to film the islands instead. The finished product? Sheepview. Two parts tech, one part adorable.
Cards Against Humanity sells Bulls***
The "party game for horrible people" loves trolling fans. There was the Christmas it dug the "Holiday Hole" to nowhere and the time it sent 100,000 people a lump of coal in the mail. But my favourite was the Black Friday Bulls*** Blowout. This wasn't hot air. It was a lump of cow poop in a box. Points for honesty.
Netflix's grassroots marketing
iTunes users worldwide were confused (and enraged) whenfor free. Sure, it forced the Irish band's patented brand of middle-of-the-road stadium rock onto iPhone users without asking. And sure, no one could work out how to get rid of it. But it was free, right? for its "megalomania."
T-Mobile crashes AT&T's party
Back in 2014, T-Mobile CEO John Legere crashed AT&T's CES party. All was fine until CNET reporter Roger Chengwith the rival boss, and Legere was promptly bounced from the venue. Getting in is a win. Staying in is a bigger win.
Google Glass, mid-air
In Australia and New Zealand, running naked across a sports field isn't a bloody outrage, it's a tradition. But mobile carrier Vodafone got into hot water after it heard of one streaker's plans to interrupt a rugby game between Australia and New Zealand and reportedly offered to pay his fines if he painted on some Vodafone branding. The company was found out and investigated, before it ultimately paid $100,000 to charity as a peace offering.
Snap's Spectacle vending machines
PR 101: Generate buzz through scarcity. Check. Snap built hype around Spectacles by stocking the video-recording glasses inthat popped up in secret locations around the country. But and a months-long delay in offering a wider release made this one a Snap squib.
And the fast food fads
Tostitos: The responsible drinker's chip
Planning on drinking some brewskies and eating tortilla chips for the big game? Sure, bro! And Tostitos has your back! Just blow into its specially designed, totally-not-going-to-hit-the-shelves-en-masse-any-time-soon, breathalyser bag! Over the limit? Now your chips can warn you.
Long before the brand drew heat for reportedly developing female-friendly Doritos (without any of that pesky cheese dust to get in the way of you dismantling the patriarchy), it was promoting fun with music. Specifically, a packed with the tunes from "Guardians of the Galaxy." There's no word yet as to whether Doritos' Jacked 3D Bacon Cheddar Ranch flavour uses real 3D tech.
It's not just the tech heads up in arms about internet regulation., releasing a video showing staff charging more so some customers would get their burgers as soon as they were ready -- while regular customers waited longer for their food.
Gone are the days of '90s-era Dennis Rodman commercials, the fast food chain is totally relevant again, guys. Just look at these '90s-style ! And these ! OK, both gimmicks feature technology that lets you order pizza with the press of a button (or the tap of a phone), but we like the commitment to Pizza Hut's retro heritage. And if all else fails, you can always ...
Pizza Hut's rival has pioneered a(complete with weirdly sad robot eyes), and even promised . But shouldn't it showcase innovations that will actually reach the public rather than buzzy vaporware purely designed to grab headlines? Ahh yes, young publicity padawan. You're learning...