Last Updated on March 10, 2020
Publicity stunts are a great way to create buzz for your restaurant. They are engaging. They are fun. They push the envelope and create controversy. Sometimes, they take it too far, but sometimes they get it just right. Take a look at these five examples of creative restaurant publicity stunts that nailed it, and be inspired for your own.
Creative Restaurant Publicity Stunts
1. The Invisible Fish
The invisible fish trick is one of the most famous restaurant publicity stunts in the 20th century. Harry Reichenbach, a publicist who normally promotes movies, helped a restaurant to create the stunt. He invested in a giant fish tank and claimed that the only living Brazilian invisible fish was inside. The bizarre decoration attracted countless guests, and some even said that they were able to find the invisible fish.
2. Left-Handed Whopper
In 1998, the restaurant chain Burger King had a full-page ad in USA Today, saying that it launched a bizarre left-handed whopper that is solely designed for the 32 million left-handed Americans. The restaurant claimed that the new burger has the exact same ingredients, and is rotated for about 180 degrees. Most people treated the ad as a April Fool’s joke, but it created interesting buzz.
3. Ivar’s Sunken Billboards
Ivar’s is one of the oldest seafood restaurants in Seattle, Washington, and its marketing campaign in 2009 is truly a bizarre restaurant marketing stunt. The restaurant said that it found several billboards from 1954 under water, including messages like “Ivar’s Chowder. Worth surfacing for 75¢ a cup.” The whole campaign later was revealed to be a hoax, but the marketing efforts paid off. The sales of clam chowder alone increased by more than 400% from last year, and the overall sales in the next month increased by over ten percent.
Source: Seattle Times
4. Billboard Revenge
Remember the “Billboard Revenge” that went viral in March 2013? At Greensboro, North Carolina, the billboard with Jennifer’s messages to a lying husband drew international attention. People were curious to know whether this message was true, and what happened next. Later in March, the ad on the billboard changed to a new message from Jennifer saying that she would meet the other woman at Yodaddy’s for some wine. It turned out that the ad was posted by the company that owns Yodaddy’s as a marketing stunt.
5. Who Let the Frogs Out?
Vatel is a French restaurant in Russia, and their creative publicity stunts have helped change guests’ preconceived notions about French cuisine. According to the restaurant’s research, Russian guests think that French cuisine is decorative and exotic. Their goal is for guests to associate French food with words like nourishing and tasty.
Frog is an iconic element of French cuisine, so Vatel delivered living frogs to guests, inviting them to bring the frog to the restaurant for dinner. The promotion created huge buzz from journalists, and all the guests accepted the invitation. The publicity created through the stunt was worth more than 20,000 Euro.