Richard Branson’s craziest stunts – Some may call Virgin boss Richard Branson a marketing genius, others may say he is a publicity wh*re but whatever you call him you can’t deny that some of his stunts are pretty crazy and sometimes pretty awesome too. I wonder how much of this stuff he ever thought he would be able to do when he was selling CDs from his marketplace stall back in the UK many years ago!
Below is an article we published originally on The Random Forest.
Richard Branson is the ultimate kid in a candy shop and seems to have a whale of a time playing out all the amazing things he wants to do. So what are his craziest?
Many of Branson’s stunts act as PR for his mega brand Virgin. Of course some are for his own fun but it seems like he is a brave man who likes the public eye. Here are 5 of his craziest PR stunts as published by Business Pundit.
10. Dresses in Wedding Dress for Virgin Brides Venture
For the 1996 launch of the relatively short-lived bridal and wedding venture Virgin Brides — it ceased trading in 2007 — Sir Richard won a fair bit of publicity by shaving off his famous beard and donning a $10,000 wedding dress. Never one to miss out on a photo opportunity, Branson ensured the media stunt garnered fat column inches for the Virgin brand, and though the company may have faded, the image of Branson dressed in drag on a catwalk has not — a PR coup selling the idea that this is one businessman who’s not afraid to laugh at himself.
9. Jumps Off Palms Hotel Casino to Celebrate Virgin American Flight
In 2007 Sir Richard celebrated the inaugural Virgin American flight from San Francisco to Las Vegas with an outlandish – and potentially dangerous – act. Branson’s nerves of steel were given a severe test when he jumped off the Palms Hotel Casino in Las Vegas in a bungee-meets-abseiling stunt. Supported by a harness and cable, the PR king descended 407 feet literally by the seat of his pants. The leap of faith did not go completely smoothly — he bashed into the building twice and ripped some material from his pants — but while some saw his public image plunging because of this, the stunt was a sign of his courage and human qualities to others.
8. Poses as Zulu Warrior to Celebrate Flights to South Africa
While visiting a cultural center near Johannesburg, Branson, in typically extrovert fashion, decided to celebrate Virgin Atlantic’s first flights to South Africa by dressing up as a Zulu warrior. The airline, launched in 1984 out of a merger with the former British Atlantic Airways, is the jewel in Virgin’s crown. Sir Richard’s unusual get-up provided countless photo opportunities and helped boost the brand’s profile. In 2010 the company flew over five million passengers all over the world – a far cry from the airline’s humble beginnings.
7. Slings Dita Von Teese Across Back at Virgin Media Launch
In 2007, Branson launched the British communications company and internet broadband provider, Virgin Media, in London’s Covent Garden. With a little help from the sexy burlesque performer Dita Von Teese, Sir Richard ensured the event got the photographers snapping – flinging the model over his back and keeping his face squarely in the public eye by acting out the naughty prank. Today Virgin Media is a major player in the UK telecommunications market, with 4.8 million customers using its fiber optic cable network.
6. Drives Tank Down Fifth Avenue to Launch Virgin Cola
In 1998, in order to launch Virgin Cola to the US market, Branson drove a tank down Fifth Avenue and then “blew up” the Coca-Cola sign in Times Square. The memorably spectacular stunt created plenty of buzz for the fizzy soda drink, as Sir Richard promised war with Pepsi and Coke. However, despite all the attention created by the one-man PR machine, sales of the cola slipped rapidly, and it’s now rare to find the drink outside a Virgin Atlantic flight. Still, while the marketing battle may have been lost, the Branson and Virgin PR war machine never ceased revving its engine.
5. Bares Butt to Mark Arrival of Virgin Atlantic in Canada
Sir Richard has never been afraid to be the butt of a joke, as this image clearly shows. To mark Virgin Atlantic’s landing in Canada, the self-styled eccentric billionaire had the bare cheek to strip off down to his shorts – and then some! With the company’s name proudly emblazoned on he and his colleagues’ posteriors, the announcement was guaranteed to hit the headlines. Another oddball stunt, but doubtless a carefully calculated one, and further proof that Branson’s no ass when it comes to shameless self-publicity.
To see Business Pundit’s top 5 read more here: http://www.businesspundit.com/10-greatest-virgin-pr-stunts-of-all-time/
What do you think his craziest stunt is?