As the Editor of Ghana’s Biggest Entertainment focused online media (GhanaCelebrities.Com) I was contacted by Peace Fm last Saturday to contribute my knowledge to their discussion of the issue of Publicity Stunt in Ghana’s fast developing Entertainment Industry (You can listen to my submission on the radio below).[audio:https://gclive.ghanacelebrities.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Chris-Vincent-Talks-About-Publicity-Stunt-On-Peace-FM.mp3]
Following the radio discussion of Publicity Stunt in Ghana’s Showbiz, I have decided to look at the issue of Publicity Stunt in detail—how they are done in Ghana and whether they are even needed at all….
A publicity stunt can be defined as an event purposely designed/staged to attract media attention to a cause, a brand or an individual.
Publicity Stunt is a famous marketing strategy mostly employed in the world of Showbiz, Consumable Goods, Politics and Branding.
As popular as this concept is in many western countries, it seems what we practice and see in Ghana deviates from what is really known as ‘Publicity Stunt’.
In order to help you understand how real Publicity Stunt is employed in the West to achieve set goals without necessary misleading targeted audience, I have gathered some good examples below.
In most Western Publicity Stunts, the targeted persons (audience) are fully aware that events are simply being staged to get public ‘attention’. Lies are highly not recommended.
Any media outlet or person that KNOWINGLY LIES to his audience in order to gain their attention for a cause deviates from the core principles of Publicity Stunt. And this seems to be the growing case in Ghana.
In Ghana, we seem to be confusing plain lies being reported to hype persons/events which undermines our obligation towards our audience with the old marketing principle of ‘Publicity Stunt’.
Consider these famous western publicity stunts that really worked, and then I will follow them with what we badly do in Ghana, calling it Publicity Stunt.
The Artist Formerly Known as Prince, 1993
In 1993, Prince announced that he would be changing his name. He changed it to a symbol that was unpronounceable.
Message in a Bottle, 1959
In 1959, Guinness hoped to build awareness of their beer by dropping 150,000 bottles in the ocean with a message from King Neptune in each bottle. They hoped the people combing the beaches would find the bottles and spread the word.
Frozen In Time, 2000
Illusionist David Blaine remained encased and frozen in a large chunk of ice in Times Square for over 60 hours. Thousands came out to witness his ‘Frozen in Time’ stunt.
He made it out alive, but was immediately rushed to the hospital because doctors were worried he would go into shock. Blaine admitted he would never attempt a stunt of this caliber again.
Batman to the Rescue, 2003
The Father 4 Justice group campaigns in the UK about reforming family law especially when it comes to divorce. One person from the campaign group dressed up as Batman and stood on the Balcony of Buckingham Palace for 5 hours with his banner.
Nude Models Promote Animal Rights, 2008
PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) had a campaign with the message of ‘Be comfortable in your own skin. Let animals keep theirs’. They had many models, including celebrities pose nude and then placed these photographs on billboards. The point was to show that these people would rather go naked than wear fur!
Nothing To Wine About at this Spa, 2008
To celebrate the opening of a new spa resort in Tokyo, the spa filled a pool with wine and allowed their guests to splash around in it. There was a pool of green tea for the younger guests.
The Queensland Tourism board posted a classified ad for the ‘best job in the world’. They seeked out an island caretaker who would be willing to spend 6 months exploring Queensland all the while staying rent free in an island villa. They received applications from all over the world and estimate the publicity has been worth over $110 million.
It is clear from the above that, gross deceit or calculated lies are prohibited in the world of real Publicity Stunts-minor reasonable trickery is however allowed.
Though Publicity Stunt is an effective tool of marketing, it takes into account the concerns of the targeted market. It is because of this that, calculated lies do not fit into its principles.
Contrary to the above, something far from what we know as Publicity Stunt which involves plain lies (inconsiderate of audience) is swallowing our Ghanaian Showbiz.
Below are some of the calculated lies we peddle in Ghana, confusing them for Publicity Stunts….
Hip Life Musician Pope Skinny Beats The Hell Out Of His Girlfriend, 2010
The Cantonments residence of Pope Skinny, the famous Akuapim hiplife artiste and host of Adom FM’s ‘Kasahare’ programme was reduced to a boxing arena on Saturday, 11th September, 2010 when he threw caution to the wind and ruthlessly beat his girlfriend, Efua, who also doubles as his manager.
Checks conducted by the Today newspaper revealed that the two, who have been dating for some years now, have recently been on bad terms. In a telephone interview with the victim on Wednesday, which attempted to ascertain the authenticity or otherwise of the story,
Efua corroborated the story saying “I was beaten severely by Pope Skinny and even sustained some varied injuries and bodily bruises.
She retorted …..”As I am speaking to you now, I am even on my way to the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU) to lodge an official complaint to them and I will make sure that he is punished.
Daddy Lumba is gone, 2007
Daddy Lumba in gone forever, the name ladies love to mention with so much passion and would always desire to associate themselves with, is no more.
This news which came as a surprise sounded unbelievable but could not be overlooked because it came from the camp of the singer himself. His manager Frank Agyekum confirmed that from now Daddy Lumba does not exist and that the name will no more be officially mentioned or heard anywhere.
“From now my name is no more Daddy Lumba” he told Weekly Fylla in an exclusive follow up interview
Hi-Life Musician-Kofi B Attacked by Thugs, 2013
Reliable information gathered by Peacefmonline.com indicates that Hi-life musician Kofi B, born Kofi Boakye Yiadom has been attacked by some unknown thugs in Accra late Monday night April 29 getting into early Tuesday morning.
According to Peacefmonline.com sources the “Mobro wa” singer was severely beaten for no apparent reason, as a result sustaining serious injuries all over his body.
The “Afia Donkor” hit maker, who spoke to Peacefmonline.com this afternoon, confirmed the incident stating that he suspects someone is surely behind it even though he didn’t mention any possible suspect
Do you see the clear difference between what we do in Ghana and what is really known as Publicity Stunts?
Are Publicity Stunts Needed?
As explained above, Publicity Stunt is a great marketing tool which fetches results if well put together…
Its need in any industry depends on how strict the fundamental principles governing its execution would be respected.
If a newly established Pizza restaurant seeking to attract media attention will employ Publicity Stunt by making the biggest Pizza ever seen in Ghana (carried by 20 people on their head), then I will say, Publicity Stunt rocks and we surely need it in Ghana.
But if they will be along the lines of calculated lies as we have seen in the past, disregarding the sort of loyalty owed to the masses (our audience), then Publicity Stunts are not needed…
Anyway, those are not Publicity Stunts even, they are plain lies!