This Independence Day weekend, America celebrated its 244th birthday. We also celebrated another century-spanning event that not only reestablished some national pride (in eating contests) but showed us again what great PR is all about!

On July 4th, Nathan’s Hot Dogs held their annual hot dog eating contest and for the 13th year in a row, All-American, Made-in-the-USA Joey Chestnut took the men’s championship title with 75 hot dogs – and buns! – in just ten minutes! Rejoice, my fellow Americans! No slouch either was Miki Sudo who won this year’s women’s division having consumed 48.5 hot dogs in 10 minutes – and yup, buns too – to clench her 7th consecutive victory. (I feel stuffed just thinking about it.)

Not only is Joey’s victory one for the record books – it’s an even bigger win for Nathan’s Hot Dogs. Consider this: This is no ordinary food eating contest. The tradition began in 1916 as a local publicity stunt and a way to “prove” who among four immigrants was the most patriotic. Nathan’s founder, Nathan Handwerker, who himself immigrated from Poland, thought the idea was a great way to bring in business. (FYI, Irish immigrant James Mullen took the first-ever title with 13 hot dogs eaten in 12 minutes.) The effort proofed successful apparently, as the contest became an annual Coney Island affair.

Now, fast-forward (104 years!) and multiple major news outlets that now cover the event – radio stations, USA Today, FOX News, NY TimesESPN even broadcast this year’s event live (check the video out!) – and every bit of coverage amounted to absolutely millions of dollars’ worth of EARNED (free) publicity of the best kind. If you were pay for that coverage, you’d be broke.

Nathan’s PR stunt way back in 1916 was just that – a stunt – but it’s grown far beyond that – it’s a bona-fide, nationally televised EVENT! Talk about DISRUPTION!

And to think – to sell hot dogs? Actually, it’s more important – to reinforce their corporate brand image – which in turn sells hot dogs. And oh boy, do they sell! (I bought a pack this weekend.)

PR Stunts are a way to get the word out.  Carefully planned and executed, a timely stunt can be a media frenzy! 

A PR stunt isn’t always needed however – but the right PR plan can make for tremendous brand recognition – and JOTO PR Disruptors knows what it takes to boost your corporate image.

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