When it hit the news that a bevvy of Russian businessman had seen fit to parasail a donkey across a Russian beach as part of an "advertising campaign", we, like everyone else, were both mortified and ever so slightly amused. It did, however, get us thinking about a few other ridiculous publicity stunts to have hit the headlines, so here are our top five from the past few years.
1. Though parasailing a donkey over a Cosack beach is arguably, well, definitely, animal cruelty, one cannot help but chuckle at one onlookers description of the donkey’s mood switching from "frantic to forlorn".
2.We feel sorry for those Londoners taking a quiet summer stroll along the banks of the Thames in 1995 only to be confronted by a 10 metre-high effigy of the King of Pop sailing ominously towards them. Done to promote Jackson’s album History, it was a lesson in Godzilla-esque publicity.
3. Late 80s duo The KLF may have had more abstract motivations behind burning £1,000,000 cash on a Scottish isle in 1994 than publicity. That said, it still left us feeling a little sick and bewildered… and poor.
4. When talk-show host Oprah Winfrey joined forces with Pontiac to give out a free car to each of the 276 members of her studio audience, scenes of elation quickly turned to unadulterated fury as they were reminded by Uncle Sam each would have to pay $7,000 tax on their new toy. Whoops.
5. Never one to shy away from controversy, Sacha Baron Cohen, under the guise of Austrian Bruno, took part in numerous stunts to promote his upcoming film. From adopting an African child to trying to slip supermodels secret notes on the catwalk, he ensured everyone was aware of his socially destructive ability.
Words by Hugh Morris