Top Gear pulled a fast one on it’s viewers tonight revealing that Michael Schumacher is the stig. The BBC’s flagship Sunday night programme threatened in the build up to tonight’s show that the real Stig would finally be unveiled, and to a captivated nation, he was un-helmeted (!) as the seven times Formula One world champion.
We all know of course, Ben Collins was the Stig.
The BBC have played a blinder in the PR on this one. They’ve done a week or so of hype building and when the big reveal (a common PR trick) occurred, the shock at the man behind the visor will be enough to get all of the Nationals writing about iot for the next week, ensuring that there is enough sustained coverage to build up momentum towards next week’s dose of motorcar mayhem.
I’m sure many viewers will appreciate that Schumi is not the Stig, but will enjoy the joke and it’ll settle them into the new series quite nicely.
On Twitter, Top Gear, Stig and Schumacher were all trending topics for the majority of the time that the programme was aired, demonstrating the UK’s presence on the micro-blogging service.
Good simple PR with a creative edge – sounds like a good strategy to me.