Business Marketing

Submarine crash in public street turned out to be an ad stunt

A recent ad stunt in Italy shows the power of the hashtag as their frightening (fake) submarine crash produced significant chatter on social networks that was easy to track, thanks to a hashtag.


Oversized advertising stunt

Recently, on the streets of Milan, locals and tourists were startled awake by the sights and sounds of a submarine crash in the middle of a busy street, prompting dozens of social media updates immediately from people trying to figure out what happened as what appeared to be sailors popped out of the top, and emergency workers sealed off the scene as paramedics took survivors away on stretchers.

It turns out that the scene was a well choreographed advertising stunt put on by insurance company Europ Assistance Italia’s Protect Your Life ad campaign. The brainchild of internationally famous firm, M&C Saatchi, the street was shut down early in the morning, and actors poured in from all directions in dress.

The hashtag #L1F3 (“LIFE,” see it?) was printed on the side of the submarine, and as hoped, immediately generated a large social media response, including pictures and video across Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram, expanding the word of the event exponentially.

Video, images of the campaign:

[pl_video type=”youtube” id=”NFgQjTqKfOQ”]





What can smaller brands learn from this jumbo stunt?

Your company may be too young or small to afford the likes of M&C Saatchi, or to shut down an entire street and hire dozens of actors for a single stunt, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative.

Thinking on a smaller scale can still invoke a large reaction, be it a relevant one man show on a street corner at a conference or a choreographed flash mob with your team, but what is most notable about the submarine stunt is the clever use of the hashtag, even setting up a website to capture all of the reactions before they even crashed the sub.

When performing your own advertising stunts, no matter how small, give people a reason to react, and offer a way for them to share their reactions (especially via hashtag) so you can monitor and gauge the effectiveness of any of your efforts.

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