Can you feel the noise? It’s Christmas and there’s no getting away from it, given the inordinate number of Christmas-themed stunts and stories floating inescapably through the ether at the moment. Stuntwatch dons its noise reduction headphones and returns for another look at what PR stunts, dull or delirious, are tickling the media this week.
The Danish trivia board game BezzerWizzer is trying to bring home the bacon in Britain by announcing the results of a poll looking for ‘the nation’s biggest know it all’. Simon Cowell has been voted into the top spot, according to the Daily Record, beating off Chris Moyles and Jeremy Clarkson.
Ripley’s Believe it or Not have been getting in on the Christmas action with a tried and tested streak of controversy – they have brought in a post-watershed version of Santa’s grotto and are inviting adults to sit on the knee of a sexy Santa. They are hoping to stir up a fuss similar to the storm in a teacup over Madame Tussaud’s nativity scene a few years ago, featuring waxen effigies of the Beckhams as Mary and Joseph, or Ray Franklin of Frome, who showed soft porn films to adults in Frome, attended by attractive young women dressed as elves, whilst their kids watched Disney films, a move which brought down the wrath of Disney on him.
Perhaps the nicest of this week’s crop is the panto hopeful, rejected at audition 30 times in six years, who has become the Royal Mail’s panto Wicked Queen for their Christmas stamps and who claims to have only discovered this when she went into the Post Office. Quite what the Victorian inventors of the stamp would have made of this rampant commercialism is open to question, but it’s a neat and pleasant story.
The strangest is certainly the story of Cindy the poodle, whose owner Sandra Harkness – a regular on the competitive grooming circuit – has been receiving much coverage for her innovative use of food dye and chalks to transform the poodle into anything from a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle to a camel. Proof, if ever there was proof, of the way animals illicit a response is the fact that she has received hate mail for her campaign to get more attention for her pet grooming parlour in California.
There are a number of clever celebrity stunts worth mentioning; top of the list being the announcement that Colleen Rooney has designed a range of jewellery for Argos and the news that Jennifer Aniston will be appearing nude in next month’s GQ, a well-used trope to get a star a little more attention as their career wanes.
On the duller side of the stunt lies Tresemme, who the Telegraph say have conducted a poll to find out men’s favourite hairstyles on their women (apparently long and curly came out on top) and Yakult’s survey that suggests women don’t eat before Christmas parties to make more room for alcohol. I’m not sure how robust Yakult’s statistics are, but it’s a good way of getting headlines, given that it drags in binge drinking and Christmas. Whether it will create much traction for the brand is another matter. Another worthwhile and thrilling survey has found that men and women enjoy using new technology, according to the Daily Star, whilst the Daily Express tells us that scientists have discovered that we get bored because our brains simply disconnect. Quite.