A Brexit Workout, a Freddie Mercury Tribute, and Naked Cambridge Students: Three Unusual PR Stunts from September

My round-up of innovative PR stunts from September includes a quirky Brexit stunt by gym chain Gymbox, who introduced a ‘Brexfit’ exercise class to help people deal with their Brexit frustrations; a quirky musical stunt by Heathrow baggage handlers to honour their former colleague, Freddie Mercury on his 72nd birthday; and a naked calendar to raise awareness of local charities, featuring students from Cambridge University. Let’s start with Gymbox.

Gymbox Victoria invites us to get ‘Brexfit’

Do you seethe with anger when you read the word Brexit? Does the uncertainty gripping the nation make you see red? Or, are you just fed-up with the inane back-and-forth about what the heck Brexit actually means? Either way, gym chain Gymbox has introduced some high-intensity exercise classes to help you vent your frustration about the current political climate.

The 30-minute, high-intensity ‘Brexfit’ workout was developed by leading personal trainers, as well as Calm People anger management expert Julian Hall, to enable people to alleviate all that pent-up political anger. The politically themed workout stations include the ‘Politician Punchbag’, adorned with an image of Boris Johnson, ‘Corbyn Ju-Jitsu Throw’ weight-throwing, ‘The Jacob-Rees Logg Lift’ and ‘The Theresa May Sack Race’. And if people needed a breather, they could take some time out in ‘Cameron Quitters’ Corner’.

The inspiration for the class came after Gymbox polled its members in the capital to find out their biggest gripes. Brexit came out on top, with 52% of responders saying it angered them more than anything else. Rental prices came in second, with train delays also ranking highly.

This topical campaign got some great coverage in the Metro, The London Evening Standard, and Time Out. And with Brexit negotiations due to go on for some months yet, there’ll no doubt be a lot more people looking to release some political stress before Brexit happens in 2019.

Baggage handlers at Heathrow Airport celebrate Freddie Mercury’s birthday in style

Freddie Mercury may be best known for being the lead singer of Queen, but few know that before his rock star days, he was a baggage handler at Heathrow Airport. So, to celebrate what would have been the rock legend’s 72nd birthday on September 5th, five of his former colleagues paid tribute to him with a spectacular publicity stunt. Following weeks of rehearsals, they swapped their bags for high vis jackets and Mercury-style moustaches, and broke into a surprise song-and-dance routine to Queen’s hit I Want to Break Free.

The routine was choreographed by Strictly Come Dancing choreographer Lyndon Lloyd and formed part of British Airways’ ‘Freddie For A Day’ stunt, to celebrate his birthday and drum up excitement ahead of the release of the film, Bohemian Rhapsody, which is a foot-stomping tribute to Queen, their music, and their extraordinary lead singer.

In an additional nod to Mercury, British Airways also invited any passengers named Freddie or Frederick to use the British Airways’ First-Class lounge for the day.

There were a few other Freddie-inspired elements to the campaign. Eagle-eyed travellers spotted Queen songs listed on Arrivals boards, and a collection of Queen memorabilia on display in the Departures area.

This feel-good campaign got blanket coverage. The story ran in The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Star, and appeared on Good Morning Britain, ITV News, BBC News, and Radio 2.

Students from Cambridge University get naked for charity 

Tourists ambling around the historical city of Cambridge may well have seen more than they bargained for last month, as students from the university’s swimming, skiing, dancing, and netball teams got their kit off and took to the streets for a charity calendar photoshoot.

The students posed in locations around campus including the dining room of Corpus Christi College and Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences. One of the pictures even shows the daring students in the buff on the famous Mathematical Bridge at Queens’ College.

The calendar is raising awareness and money for several local charities: Beat Eating Disorders, Mary’s Meals, Papyrus and Cambridge Rape Crisis Centre. It was the brain-child of a student at the University, and her idea captured the imagination of the folk at The Sun, The Daily Express, and The Telegraph. Because, as we all know, sex sells.

The stunt follows a long tradition of brands using nudity to grab the limelight. Most famously in 1998, ladies from the Rylstone Women’s Institute in Yorkshire bared all to raise money for a cancer charity. The stunt inspired the hit movie, Calendar Girls. Animal rights organisation PETA is also famous for its nude celebrity ad campaigns, along with their iconic slogan ‘I’d rather go naked than wear fur.’

Are you feeling inspired?

If any of these campaigns have inspired you to think outside the box and do something a bit different to get the attention of the press, this is my area of expertise. Give me a call now.


Want to join the PR revolution? Call me now on +44 (0)77604 70309

I get you into the places that matter

The Times
Financial Times
Evening Standard