February 25, 2015 By integrate

The Best “50 Shades of Grey” PR Stunts

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We’re all big movie fans here at Integrate, especially working with Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas, and often times, you can catch us chatting about our favorite actors, movie scenes, and the latest movie releases. Lately, our office has been buzzing about the overly-hyped “50 Shades of Grey,” and it’s no surprise since the R-rated film has been a hot topic of conversation worldwide since it’s debut. For two weekends in a row now, the provocative romance has topped the box office and an awkward mother-daughter interview last Sunday with Dakota and, mom, Melanie Griffith, even managed to steal some red carpet spotlight during the 2015 Oscars!

It is always fascinating, as a PR professional, to see marketing campaigns successfully deliver a brand’s message and create so much buzz in a short amount of time. You see, one of our primary responsibilities, as PR #Rockstars, is to develop innovative campaigns that not only help deliver our clients’ messages to the media and target audiences, but also make sure they stand out and are heard. While we may make it look easy, it is always a challenge to develop creative campaigns that will cut through the noise while also driving sales, increasing fundraising or achieving our clients’ long-term goals. The “50 Shades of Grey” marketing and PR team did such an exceptional job hyping up the film that it didn’t take long for brands to jump on the bandwagon with either marketing tie-ins or PR stunts, ultimately creating more buzz and generating even more attention for the film, leading to $85.1 million in sales opening weekend. It’s one thing to tell your story, it’s another to get the media to tell your story, and quite an even larger feat to see unrelated brands using your brand to tell their story.


Here are some of my favorite “50 Shades of Grey” PR stunts.

1.Mr. Squarepants Will See You Now. It’s hard not to crack up at this hilarious poster and its attempt to merge two completely opposite worlds! For those unaware, The Spongebob Squarepants film was released two weeks prior to “50 Shades of Grey,” and very cleverly decided to attract more attention for the movie by spinning-off one of the most memorable lines of the “50 Shades of Grey” trailer and releasing an inspired graphic on Twitter. This humorous act generated almost 16,000 retweets and was favorited by over 14,000 twitter users. Nicely done, Paramount Pictures.

2.B&Q’s Fake Staff Memo. One of the pivotal scenes in “50 Shades of Grey” takes place in the hardware shop that protagonist, Anastasia Steel, works in. In this scene, Christian Grey visits the shop in search of handy tools (rope, cable ties, masking tape) to fulfill his “special needs.” Leave it to B&Q, a British multinational DIY retailing company, and their PR team to “leak” a fake staff memo a day before the movie debut, ordering their employees to prepare for unique “50 Shades of Grey” customer queries by reading the book or watching the film itself. This stunt received a great deal of coverage in only 48 hours and takes first place in our books as the most creative AND effective PR stunt.

3.50 Shades of Kale. Even M.D. Drew Ramsey couldn’t resist but to use the play on words in an effort to promote a healthier product. The book includes descriptions like “Release yourself from the bondage of guilt…” and “Whether you’re a cooking novice or real kale submissive, you will succumb to Kale’s charms….” Who knew Kale could be so erotic?

If you have a favorite marketing campaign or “50 Shades of Grey” spin-off you’d like to share with us, we’d love to hear from you on our Facebook page!

Written By: Stefanie Pascacio