Huh? The 5 Weirdest Promotional Stunts Of 2012

by (@zaragolden)
Everyone knows that albums don’t sell — exceptions granted to all British neo-soul performers whose names begin with the letter “A” and end with “dele,” because their albums go Diamond — and so tasked with the challenge of assuring that their albums actually sell, artists have done away with the televised performance here, album singing there promotional tours of old in favor of elaborate stunts that include breaking world records, reuniting with abusive boyfriends, large pizza pies and selling at least a few extra records. Here are five of the wackiest pulled in the last 365 days:

5. The Flaming Lips Get Inducted Into The Guiness Book Of World Records

Get More: O Music Awards


The Flaming Lips are really good at pulling stunts — consider the recent grenade debacle, the gummy-skull and that Ke$ha collaboration —  but few of their past efforts have been so exhaustive as their world record breaking run that had them playing eight shows in eight different cities in 24-hours for the O Music Awards. “You realize,” Wayne Coyne sang several times that day, looking ever more disheveled and increasingly pleased as the shows ticked away, “the sun doesn’t go down, it’s just an illusion caused by the world spinning round.”

4. Lana Del Rey‘s Infamous SNL Bomb


We would be hard pressed to prove that sounding terrible was all part of the plan, but the bombed act did help to land her for better or worse on the radars of the great Brian Williams and many more Tumblr-less folk just two weeks before the release of Born To Die, so it couldn’t have been all bad business for a budding star, right?

3a. Rihanna Brings Reporter On A Date With Chris Brown
We can’t say for certain that it was “all a part of the promo plan,” but Rihanna’s night out on the town with GQ reporter and Chris Brown was probably not a mistake, because what better way is there to drum up excitement for an album that frequently engages a former boyfriend and abuser in order to maximize the titular unapologetic feelings than to corner a reporter into reporting on it? Trolling, nonpareil. [Photo: Rihanna/Instagram]

3b. Rihanna’s 777 Tour
Okay, this one we know for sure was a part of the plan. In order to celebrate Unapologetic, her seventh studio release in as many years, the inventor of the useful hashtag #phuckyoapologies loaded up a Boeing 777 with journalists and Navi members for a whirlwind release tour that made stops in seven cities in seven different countries. On the first day, the Bajan princess got on the loud speaker and ordered everyone aboard to get drunk and it was magical; but it was all early mornings, long delays and radio silence from there on out. Can we call this a success? It sure did earn her a lot of press, though most of it was exasperated and less than glowing. Oh, and Unapologetic debuted at No. 1 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 — her first chart topping album! — so something worked out alright.

2. Taylor Swift Puts Her Face Everywhere, Including Your Pizza Box
Though perhaps not the most inventive, Taylor’s no-surface-left-without-my-face-plastered-on-it Red promo run was a thing of nearly absurd proportions. You could catch her glimmering on all the usual magazine covers and doing her lean dance on all the usual television programs, but also all the rest of the places as well, for example: covering WebMD Magazine, greeting you in Walgreens the nationwide, stuffed into your airplane backseat pocket and bundled with your Papa Johns delivery. 1.2 million copies of Red were sold in the first week, 8,000 or so of which were delivered by Papa Johns, so great success?

1. Justin Bieber‘s Viral “Call Me Maybe” Sing-A-Long


This video looks a lot like a big ole pig-pile of today’s hottest teen celebs, hanging out in their undecorated mansions, karaoke-ing their new favorite song, like, ever and being pretty cute while they’re at it, but it was actually more calculated than that. According to this New Yorker profile, Jepsen and Justin Beiber’s manager Scooter Braun nudged the Biebs to do something help launch his latest SchoolBoy Records signee, and there we have it, the video that launched a thousand parodies and the career of Carly Rae Jepsen. Certainly it worked, the lip-dubbed video besting the official video in YouTube view counts until late into the summer.