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Topic: Whats needed to prepare for a big publicity stunt?
Message: Posted by: JohnnyNykkon (Jan 5, 2005 03:59PM)
I was just wondering, how does one rightfully prepare for a big publicity stunt? ie. people to talk to, is there certain documentation needed from the town to do this or what. What is needed?
Message: Posted by: benscholz99 (Jan 5, 2005 07:22PM)
I think it truely depends on what you are planning to do.

Message: Posted by: MDS (Jan 5, 2005 09:04PM)
Message: Posted by: magicofCurtis (Jan 7, 2005 06:32PM)
To prepare for a pr stunt.
1. you need to know your stunt
2. who is envolved? Jumoing into the river? check the city permit department. Get everything in writting
3. Street closing? Park and recuration or city permits usually controlls this.
4. Safety, secuirty, crowd control... Tie it in with an excisting event.. like a fair, carnvial, special promotion, a Festerval, a theme park, a resort/ hotel

Now the hard part..

Ask you self, Why? and how?
Why would the public be interested? How can I tie it into a local topic... (fund raiser)
Get sponsers,,, Radio stations, news station,, don't forget about the small local pappers too.. Fax them a press release... etc...

there are many books on these subjects... you should check into them

Curtis Eugene Lovell II
Message: Posted by: Chris Stolz (Jan 7, 2005 09:24PM)
My last done was all possible due to a single large sponser. If you can convince a company that it will be good for them and get them fully involved it'll make life a LOT easier! In my case I had convinced an investment firm to have a customer appreciation event. They gave away free hot dogs and beverages and hired me to put on a show out on the street. They even provided a small stage!

As long as you convince the company that it will BENEFIT THEM they may just go for it.

The thing I would do is scedule an appointment with the city followed by a second meeting with the head of the local recreation department.

Hope this helps,

Message: Posted by: Amazing Magic Co (Jan 8, 2005 04:02AM)
I would also suggest have a media kit on hand. This should include a press release, bio and photo. You will also want to make sure all of the local media had been tipped off. What exactly is communicated to them will vary depending on how you would like ot tease the event and the nature of your activity.

Message: Posted by: Cashetta (Jan 9, 2005 06:36PM)
I have to agree that moeny is really numer 1. But asd Chris said a sponser can make all of the difference.
Message: Posted by: Starrpower (Jan 9, 2005 06:57PM)
Those who have said money have probably never done a publicity stunt. Money is NOT needed. Wits, tenacity, hard work, and a clever idea are what's needed.

Look at the BIG recent publicity stunts that have attracted national attention. NO money was spent -- Janet Jackson was in the news for the past year for her "wardrobe malfunction." All that took was being a tramp on national television. Britney Spears made headlines by having a drunken wedding in Las Vegas which was anulled hours later. All that took was being a tramp before an entire nation (hmmm ... I see a trend here!)

1) The number one question you should be asking is WHO DO YOU KNOW WHO ...?

2) Next, get "Big Shots" involved if possible. Media will respond more readily to names they are familiar with.

3) Tie into an existing event. If the media's already there, your job is easier.

4) Have a REASON for the stunt. Publicity for publicity's sake rarely gets the attention of publicity aimed at a specific event or worthy cause.

For example, I once got a lot of publicity with a strait jacket escape: two TV stations, several radio stations, and several newspapers. I did a few things, like called in a favor from a local tree trimming company in order to get the FREE crane to hang from (who do you know who ...) I arranged for the event to be held over a chain of lakes at the commencement of an annual boat parade (who do you know who ...) Since the media was already there, and I was far more interesting than a bunch of boats floating by, guess who got the publicity? There was more to it, but that's the gist of it.

Another time, I got great coverage with a headline prediction. Two things helped: I had the county attorney notarized the prediction (Big Shot)and I had the newspaper editor hold on to it (Big Shot, and they WILL cover that one, won't they? Besides, it was a prediction from THEIR paper!)

Remember, it's always easier to ask for forgiveness that to beg for permission. Don't tip your hand too much if there's a possiblity you'll be stopped. Even if you ARE stopped in the middle of the event, THAT'S NEWS. Your very failure will give you the results you want (are you old enough to remember Evel Knievel's mega-failure at Snake River Canyon? It made him a legend!)

For one of the few resources on preparing for publicity stunts, check out "The Complete Publicty Stunt" (volume 3) here:

Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jan 9, 2005 07:44PM)
Another thing that is very important is to do something that they haven't seen before. Straitjacket escapes and blindfold drives are passe, unless they are done some way that they have not ever been done before. If you can find a local TV producer, he will know more people in television than, say, your average booking agent.

If you want to really learn about publicity stunts, do a google search using the following phrase -- Jim Moran publicist. Don't just put in Jim Moran, or you will have a number of listings for politicians. Jim Moran the publicist, who also wrote a book on Magic Squares, was one of the best at getting free publicity for his clients. He once actually sold an icebox to an Eskimo. His exploits were legendary.

Jim passed away in October of 1999.
Message: Posted by: Starrpower (Jan 9, 2005 08:18PM)
Bill, strait jackets and blindfold drives are only passe to us magicians. Ask your average Joe on the street, and they've likely heard of a straijecket escape, but not seen one ... particularly an inverted hanging escape. Blindfold drives? *I'VE* never even seen one of those other than the ones I've done! So, I must disagree with you ... they STILL attract the press.

But, Johnny still hasn't told us about his event. The more we know, the better we can help.
Message: Posted by: JohnnyNykkon (Jan 9, 2005 10:45PM)
Well I'm thinking of doing a submerged escape in a big lake we have in out town, but was also thinhking of doing a straight jacket,deciding between the two of those...
Message: Posted by: Dr.Maya Baalaamurugaan (Jan 10, 2005 12:51AM)
Interesting thread..................................
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jan 10, 2005 02:24AM)
When I say that straitjackets and blindfold drives are passe -- I mean to the people in television stations and newspaper offices, not to the average joe. There are at least four guys working the straitjacket in Houston at comedy clubs on a regular basis. The newspapers here aren't going to touch that one. And blindfold drives are about the same way. I don't know if you remember when Jim Passe did his blindfold drive across the country last summer -- some places it didn't get ANYTHING, and he had a publicist!

But if you can come up with something really different -- which is why I mention the Jim Moran reference -- you will have something that will not only get you publicity -- it will get you repeated air time for years to come. Blaine's transparent box above the Thames is a perfect example -- while the publicity may have been largely negative, people still remember it. There isn't a single Londoner who doesn't know who David Blaine is. And it carried over to here, as well.

If you could get someone to put you in a casket underground, buried in jalapeno peppers that would be a lot more interesting to a TV news producer than a straitjacket escape. I'm not saying anyone should try that. It might be more than you could handle, but that's just an example.

There is also the aspect of tying things in to a charity or to someone who not only is a sponsor, but also buys a lot of ad copy in the newspaper or a lot of television ad time.
Message: Posted by: Amazing Magic Co (Jan 10, 2005 11:47AM)
Make sure you leverage your own stunt as well. Be certain to have a good photopgrapher on hand and possibly video as well. I would suggest writing and submitting your own article to media that did not show up. Scheduling can sometimes present unintended conflicts.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jan 10, 2005 10:50PM)
And if you use a publicist, check and see what kind of a job he or she actually can do. There was one here who used to do all sorts of outrageous things. Trouble is, that he had a tendency to put the publicity stunts out on his stationery. It destroyed their credibility.

Jim Moran's technique involved "non-interested third parties" that would call in news stories. Like the time that the armored knight from the St. George hotel "accidentally" slew a dragon -- an automobile -- by running his lance into the radiator. It was a totally bogus incident. But Jim had a couple of people "witness" the accident, and there were two TV crews on the scene before you could catch your breath.
Message: Posted by: silapmata (Jan 20, 2005 09:18PM)
BIG SPONSOR & A CAPITAL BIG MM and a very good Event Management team who are willing to be your slave. They will handle all the things for you. Ideas & Concept that is from you. Logistic & Manpower let other people do for you. Minimum investment RM$1 million for 1/2 show TV show.
Message: Posted by: Starrpower (Jan 20, 2005 10:52PM)
Silapmata, you're talking through your hat. None of those things are necessary. Whoever said anything about buying 1/2 hour of national television? Obviously, you miss the whole point of a publicity stunt. It's to garner FREE publicity!!!!

I have a very close friend who made the national talk circuit based on a single escape. Granted, it was a big one -- it involved escaping while free-falling from an airplane -- but it cost him next to nothing. The VERY NEXT MORNING he was on another airplane, this time to be a guest on "Good Morning, America."

Please, if you haven't done publicity stunts, or don't have intimate knowledge of them, don't respond to Johnny's query. He needs real advice, not flippant remarks from those who don't have real-world experience.
Message: Posted by: Joseph_Then (Jan 21, 2005 04:01AM)
You can try contacting Dr.Maya Baalaamurugaan, who is in this forum.

He is doing a public stunt in Malaysia too. Maybe you can PM him and ask him for any advice and best still travel to his country and see how he does it?
Message: Posted by: Slim King (Jan 21, 2005 08:00AM)
Talk your cousin into marrying the Entertainment Editor! It worked for me.....Weee Haaaa!
Message: Posted by: magicofCurtis (Dec 3, 2008 07:45PM)
On 2005-01-20 22:18, silapmata wrote:
BIG SPONSOR & A CAPITAL BIG MM and a very good Event Management team who are willing to be your slave. They will handle all the things for you. Ideas & Concept that is from you. Logistic & Manpower let other people do for you. Minimum investment RM$1 million for 1/2 show TV show.


I must disagree is some aspects. My last stunt which gained national radio, major local television news media, print media, and a book submission started off with just $500.00, but at end of the day it hit about $25,000 ish hard cash and about $65,000 with total cost factor (some cost got buried with daily expenses.) The money comes in as you create the stunt and gain attention and interest.

OHH BUT more money the easier the stunt can be to pull off!
Message: Posted by: Kyle^Ravin (Dec 4, 2008 02:41AM)
Early last year, I performed the buried alive illusion for the finale of my magic TV special. The illusion got a lot of attention both from the media and the followers of the TV show. IMHO, the first thing you need to pull off a publicity stunt, is publicity itself. I spoke to journalists from two major newspapers and also invited prominent faces from the entertainment industry. All of which, happened to be friends or aquaintences of mine. The illusion was pulled off well and though the audience was a size of only about 20 people, it still got me a fair share of media attention. The plus point I had was the fact that I already had the TV series running and it helped alot. Early this year, I also did a mass mind reading effect LIVE on national radio. This also got a good deal of publicity, though there was no press involved. The radio show went on during a high tune in time.

A friend of mine attempted to set a record for the furthest card throw and he tied up with a major event which housed about 1000 or more people. I happened to be performing at the event and there he was, on stage shooting cards to the back of the auditorium. YES, he eventually found himself a place in the singapore book of records but also, he was the topic of conversation for the guests of the event. That's publicity too...

A really good example of another performer that pulls off publicity stunts well is illusionist JC Sum. I dun know the full picture but I assume his association with the Singapore Press added an advantage to him. His first big publicity stunt was when he teleported himself from the bottom of a building to the roof in a matter of seconds. This really garnered him huge media attention and at the same time, being the marketing genius he is, also constantly reminded potential clients and others about his achievement. This is publicity.

Does Publicity involve money? Yes! but its not entire dependant on it. Somtimes you just need to be a good sales person and sell the idea to the media/sponsors/event organizers. The idea of publicity to me, is getting the word around. It really helps if you're not a one off magician to the audience. Meaning, you don't perform one big stunt and never do it again. People will eventually forget who you are. All they'll remember is the magician that walked through the great wall. WIll they recall a name? I doubt. David blaine, Criss Angel and Copperfield constantly reminded the masses about their presence. DOn't just do one. Keep hitting them and soon you'll be a household name. Good luck

Just my 2c