Stunt Work: Slow Mo and Swimsuits

On May 25, 2017, the new film “Baywatch,” based on the 1989-1999 TV series, was released in movie theaters across the nation.

I didn’t particularly care. Not really my thing.

Here’s what I do care about: publicity stunts.

A few weeks before the film was released, Paramount Pictures and agency Droga5 London pulled off a delightfully self-aware tribute to the original series’ opening credits – which, even if you’ve never seen, you’ve heard referenced. Does dramatic, slow-motion running along a beach in swimsuits ring a bell? Pamela Anderson and David Hasselhoff?

So how do you promote this movie, starring Zac Efron and Dwayne Johnson?

By hosting the first-ever “Slow Mo Marathon,” of course. The 0.2 mile-long race took place in downtown Los Angeles while the original show’s theme song played and the stars of the new film walked the red carpet.

Check out the video on Paramount Pictures’ YouTube channel:

What Paramount did well:

Timing. A few weeks before a premiere is a good time to drum up attention.

Self-awareness. The whole charm of the original show was its campy style. The dramatic slow motion seems downright silly now, and showing that you can laugh at yourself never hurts.

Celebrity sightings. It never hurts, and it’s especially good when the stars are totally relevant to the event.

Filming. Not only did the chance to be on camera lure participants, but they ended up with fun, engaging content to share.

Simplicity. As far as publicity stunts go, this is brilliant in its simplicity. Relatively inexpensive compared to other stunts we’ve seen, and done on a fairly small scale. A short distance with a small crowd can go a long way with the right idea.

What could have been better:

Attention. I’ve said this before, but why did I have to be researching publicity stunts to hear about this? I know Idaho is far from L.A., but we have movies here too. Maybe if the video had been a little funnier, a little more wild, it could have gone viral. As of right now, the YouTube video has only 47,000 views.

Go bigger. Have the stars participate in the run. Show us the backstories of the participants so we root for them to win, like reality shows do. Just a little extra emotional impact (of the ironic variety, of course) might have taken the video to the next level.

Overall, this really was a great move. AdWeek and many other publications that cover this kind of thing picked the story up. It was funny, original, and relevant. I still don’t have any desire to see the movie, though.


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