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A big, floating PR cliché

02 June 2017 | Tom Carter

Paramount Pictures has marked the London premiere of its latest movie, Baywatch, in a rather big way – by breaking the world record for creating the world's largest inflatable beach ball.

The giant beach ball was unveiled floating down the River Thames with the cast of the movie, featuring Zac Efron, Alexandra Daddario and Jon Bass, all watching as it was shown off to the public.

The requirements for it to be an official world record were that it must be made with the same materials as a normal beach ball and be (understandably) bigger than the previous world record – an impressive 15.82m in diameter; a record that’s stood since as far back in the misty depths of time as 2012.

This beach ball, coloured in the signature red and blue that you would imagine, successfully eclipsed the previous effort with a whopping record-breaking diameter of 19.97m.  

Now, in PR land it’s a common saying “blow it up and float it down the Thames” when you want to take the mick out of unimaginative stunt thinking thanks to the dozens of similar ‘big object floating down the Thames’ stunts done in the past. The PR team behind this has actually managed to double up on that by throwing in another PR cliché (breaking a record) to further its reach. PR Week in the past has done a defence of floating things down the Thames, pointing out that a stunt is aimed at impressing the public, not fellow PR professionals.

However, in this instance, reach has been limited. In terms of coverage, Breitbart got it off UPI, and the rest was PR press slagging it off. An Account Director is no doubt in for a rollicking somewhere when an undoubtedly expensive stunt gets questioned on its worth…but they can at least highlight the slow-mo marathon, which was actually a good effort.

A failed stunt is probably the least of their worries though. The film has been pretty much smashed in the press reviews, so not even a floating beach ball was likely to save it anyway.