Dangerous stunts are usually associated with automobile ads. Skirting in the dirt, on racetracks, along horses or any other fast-moving animal to display the vehicle’s rigidity, strength and power.
Sometimes, with the occasional inclusion of human beings; these ads seem like a mid-fight sequence of a badly scripted action movie. Truthfully assessed, these seem more fitting, more appropriate and grander in the advertisements than the movies.
Volvo Trucks and Mahindra Furio 7
The argument’s value can be gauged best with truck commercials of Volvo and Mahindra Furio 7. Akin in its stunt execution, the two ads carry different vessels of marketing a similar vehicle.
While Volvo’s ad can be said to be a test of both Van Damme and Volvo’s trucks; Mahindra choose Ajay Devgan because he had already been known to perform this specific stunt on-screen prior to this moment. His role in marketing the product; was that of being a publicist of it who happens to also have an influence.
Not all ads that feature dangerous stunts are about automobiles though. It should be fairly obvious as using guerrilla marketing tactics aren’t and shouldn’t be limited to one category of brands.
Emotions are a significant part of all successful marketing. Furthermore, evoking negative emotions have been proved to be more effective in securing an attachment than positive emotions. Naturally, any kind of shock entertainment brings more publicity than its positive or warming counterparts.
The link between the adrenaline rush and thrill-seeking
It is our bodies’ biological response to secrete the hormone adrenaline in response to stress and danger. When something as dangerous as the stunts is undertaken by us, the response to adrenaline secretion in our body; responding to the excess quantity at certain times; can induce the same euphoria as other drugs. This euphoria is can also be relived when one watches another person undergo a dangerous activity without being exposed to the risk involved in it.
The risk induced euphoria could perhaps be best explained with the instances as follows.
The 2014 ad by Thums Up features Salman Khan. He looks out for another bottle as he is done emptying the last bottle of Thums Up in his ad. His female associate informs him of the non-existence of the drink of his choice. Not faltered by his circumstances and his surroundings; which happens to be of an aircraft; he seeks them out by himself, by jumping out of the plane in a car.
The owner of a stall greets his regular customer with delight. Incidentally, within the conversation, he gets a chance to look up and is shocked at the free-falling car from the sky.
Parachuting to the ground, Salman asks for another bottle of his favourite beverage.
Released as a Super Bowl commercial in 2018, Keanu Reeves is seen riding a bike without handling it. He reiterates the lyrics of the song Adventures in Success as if he is trying to affirm these for himself.
It is an odd ad for Square Space as it is far out from its realm of their normal advertisements.
Apart from its underlying psychological reasons for success, advertisements that feature publicity stunts also provoke something else. As the stunts have started to look more and more realistic, questions about their authenticity also arise. If and ever they are, the impressive feat garners the admiration and attention of the public. As it is with anything or anyone gaining fame on social media, the media tabloids also cover the trend which fuels the publicity and indirectly markets for free for the company.
The most recent example of such can be traced back to the Emirates ad.
Nicole Smith-Ludvik; the woman dressed as Emirates’s flight attendant; stood on top of Burj Khalifa arranging the boards with the message written on them.
The advertisement went viral as netizens marvelled at her bravery to stand on top of the world’s tallest building without breaking a sweat and without any safety gear. The same advertisement wouldn’t have performed so well if it weren’t any such feat.