I hate it when the news media refers to a public relations effort as a "PR stunt."
I hate it more when they have good reason to.
Witness the short piece in the Grand Rapids Press about a local PR firm's placement of a fiberglass cow downtown, bearing a sign "We're coming home." It's a cute play on the cliche "I won't see you til the cows come home." But it does reek of a stunt, gimmick, or any other pejorative noun that follows PR as an adjective.
Now, this might get some attention. But I have several questions: what is the objective?; who are the publics?; is this cow reaching them in the appropriate way to accomplish those objectives?
Maybe, but maybe not. Some would say such PR efforts are creative, innovative, a necessary reality in our multi-mediated environment. But I would argue that far from innovative, this is a throw-back to the days of PT Barnum hyping his circus and other events, and giving PR a bad name in the process that we still have to shake.
PR is about building mutual relationships. Are fiberglass cows and building mystery part of that? I say horse hockey.