Leafing through a set of files, I am reminded about how the publicity stunts have been dwindling over the years, probably because people are too straight laced or uptight when it comes to taking risks. Max Rosey was the genius behind many a PR stunt. Rosey was the legendary New York PR man who put an elephant on a giant water ski in the Hudson River to promote an amusement park. Of course, these days you’d never be allowed to do such a politically incorrect stunt involving animals.
One of Rosey’s best stunts was the one he came up with to promote Nathan’s Hot Dogs in Coney Island, which was the Annual Hot Dog Eating Contest. It’s been running for years but latterly has been more problematic to stage because of the government’s healthy eating edicts. Shoving your face with hot dogs resulted in the creation of The International Federation of Competitive Eating ( IFOCE) which was founded in 1997 by brothers George and Richard Shea. It stages contests around the America and we used them last year for the Wookey Hole mince pie eating contest. Great showmen with a great sense of fun equals column inches and TV coverage.