Top 5 PR Stunts For When An Event Has Been Postponed

By Fraser Gillies Published: 31 March, 2020 Last updated: February 17th, 2022 at 3:40 pm

empty conference room

As a business trying to build brand awareness and a customer base, there’s nothing worse than when your event is put on hold.

Unfortunately, postponing your function is more of an eventuality than a possibility at the moment. As governments worldwide introduce quarantines and work from home policies, the chances of hosting physical get-togethers are zero. 

This doesn’t only put a damper on your proceedings but may have consequences for your business’ brand image.

How can you turn this negative into a positive?

With a well-crafted PR stunt.

Here are some of the best ways to reconnect with your customers when an event has been postponed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Online Competitions

Online competitions help re-engage social media followers and potential customers. People love things for free, and your online community is no different. 

Dove’s Real Beauty Should Be Shared contest recognized the importance of its customers as brand ambassadors. Simple yet effective, Dove’s competition asked people to complete fill-in-the-blank sentences with a photo about what makes their friend or family member beautiful. The winner would become the face of Dove’s next TV commercial.

Dove not only put a positive spin on the superfluous nature of the word ‘beauty’ in fashion, but it also created an interactive way for customers to interact with the brand.

Best of all, for businesses that want to copy Dove’s online competition prize, it’s completely free.

Virtual Events

Virtual events can serve as creative alternatives to physical events, and allow you to retain your in-person event attendees.

Hosting events virtually can actually increase the number of potential attendees, since the event isn’t bound by a physical location and is therefore more accessible.

Not to mention, advances in augmented and virtual reality technology mean businesses can host tours or parties to offer digital alternatives to canceled events.

For example, The Dali Theatre-Museum in Spain, having canceled all its exhibitions during COVID-19, opened its doors online to public visits by creating a virtual tour of the museum. These free tours enabled the art gallery to maintain audience engagement, as well as earn positive online exposure.

Create a Viral Video 

In times like these, people need some light relief. 

Creating a viral video might not replace your canceled event, but it can provide some welcome engagement on your social media channels. 

Dollar Shave Club made great use of a modest advertising budget to create their Our Blades Are Great video. The company made a witty yet clear video that says who it is, and why you should buy its razor blades. 

Dollar Shave Club spent a mere $4,500 on the video, while gaining 12,000 new service subscribers in 72 hours, plus securing $147.8 million in venture funding. As well as over 26 million views on YouTube, the viral video firmly outshone anything produced by Dollar Shave Club’s competitors.

Partner Up

Forming partnerships with other brands is great to distract attention away from your canceled event. 

Pooling resources and gaining access to new markets is a mutually-beneficial motive for like-minded businesses. And when there are uncertain times ahead, weathering the storm with a friend is much better than sailing solo. 

Taco Bell and Doritos struck gold with their partnership by creating the Dorito-based taco Locos Tacos. Taco Bell sold a staggering $100 million worth of Locos Tacos within its first 10 weeks of launching, making it the most successful Taco Bell product in the 50-year history of the company. 

For finding the right brand partner, make sure these are a match:

  • Aligned PR goals
  • Aligned target audience
  • Complimentary brand identities
  • Shared values and ethics

Let Influencers Help

The value of the influencer industry has skyrocketed in the last 5 years. In fact, businesses big and small are expected to spend $15 billion on influencer marketing by 2022. Cancelled event or not, you should already be investigating how influencers can help you achieve your digital PR goals.

If your concern is return on investment, businesses are reported to make $5.20 for every dollar that’s spent on influencers. A tidy profit for any company.

Endorsements from celebrities or industry figures can help shape your company’s brand image for millions of people, a powerful tool after a canceled event. Moreover, as internet usage has dramatically increased due to quarantine measures, no is the perfect time to harness people online. 

Influencer marketing campaigns like Danielle Berstein’s endorsement for FIJI Water have helped foster trust and value in FIJI Water’s product. As a fashion blogger and fitness influencer with 2.3 million Instagram followers, Danielle’s Instagram photos posing with bottles of FIJI Water reassure consumers that FIJI Water is a credible brand and a quality product.

The Bottom Line

While cancelled event’s are more inevitable than possible right now, your company can react positively with a well-crafted PR stunt.

 Whether it’s an online competition, viral video or influencer endorsement, the strategy to put your brand back in the consumer spotlight doesn’t have to be complicated. A thought-through PR stunt with clear objectives will catch your target audience’s eye and keep them engaged with your brand.


Fraser Gillies

Fraser has been working in the digital communications space for four years. Currently the Head of Revenue at Publicize, he is leading a team of talented content creators to build powerful tech narratives that engage, educate and entertain audiences.