A Case Study in How to Execute A GREAT PR Stunt

The Stunt

On March 24th, 2001 Diamondbacks ace Randy Johnson hit a bird flying by in a spring training game. The bird exploded in a dramatic cloud of feathers and the video that caught the moment went viral.

In 2009, the MLB player retired but recently he was spotted More recently, he was spotted at an NFL game with a long, telescoping lens on a professional grade camera. It sparked a few fans to look him up and it didn’t take long for everyone (including the media) to realize that he had started a photography business in retirement.

The pinnacle of the whole thing? His logo is a dead bird. Because when you’re famous for something, it doesn’t hurt to keep that front of mind for people. At first I smiled and shrugged it off as ‘clever’ when my husband told me about it. Then I began to actually think on it and quickly realized that this was an absolutely brilliant PR stunt.

Here’s why.


Capitalizing on Successes

Randy took something that he knew would get him attention (a professional grade, telescoping lens that was massive) to a place where he was able to capitalize on his fame in sports: an NFL game. It was only a matter of time till someone spotted and recognized him and spread the word.

The logo was the perfect ‘inside joke’ to cause people to share it and spark some nostalgia.

The cherry on top is the really great photography showcased on his website.


Let’s get real

I've spent so much time trying to come up with a PR stunt for our company, as well as for others. We often do brainstorming sessions to come up with PR stunts for clients and I often get pushback that it’s too expensive, too big, etc.

This is a brilliant reminder that bigger isn't always better. There is no need for a sky blimp or custom airplane banners that are cost prohibitive for most small business owners. Sometimes it's all about something small in front of the right audience, and a back end that sparks conversation (a dead-bird logo and really great photography!).

Ask yourself what is one thing you can do in a place where your audience is hanging out to try and get some attention.


Start Small

Put it out there, then let it go. Not every PR stunt is going to work, and that's okay. Start small and hope for failure, because your first attempt probably won't be a success, but you'll learn a lot. On the off chance it does happen to take off. Excellent job!



My point here is to remind you to stop stressing about creating the perfect marketing strategy, the perfect PR stunt, or getting the media's attention. Just put something out there because trust me, completion is better than perfection.