clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Racked Recap 2008: The Year in Stunts

New, 4 comments

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

With only a few days left in 2008, it's time to look back at a year of dizzying highs and crushing lows, of one major economic collapse and many minor shopping frenzies. Folks, it's the annual (two years running!) Racked Recap. This week, we'll be reliving our biggest and brightest (and saddest and darkest) moments. Take a deep breath of the sweet, sweet nostalgia.

This was, of course, a banner year for promotional stunts, if only because of the Chanel Mobile Art Pavilion. While we think the introduction and subsequent shortage of Ricky's burger-scented body spray might wind up being one for the history books, it's perhaps too soon to tell. Instead, enjoy these other five gimmicks, from a totally different burger stunt (hey, people like burgers!) to the greatest art ever inspired by a handbag.

5.) Diesel's cheeseburger wall: Last spring, Diesel asked artists to come up with a design for a mural on 220 West 19th Street. They unveiled the contest winner, a giant abstract cheeseburger, in early August, then handed out Pop Burger sliders to celebrate.

4.) DKNY's ghost bikes: During last February's Fashion Week, DKNY spray-painted bikes orange and locked them up all over town. Either they didn't know about the ghost bike phenomenon—in which people paint bikes white and chain them up as memorials to bikers who've been killed in accidents—or they didn't worry too much about the creepy resemblance; whatever the case, people were outraged at what looked like profiteering off bike deaths. The moral of the story: Do your research, marketing teams.

3.) The Uniqlo human vending machine: Uniqlo knows how to pull a stunt. When they wanted to promote their Heat Tech innerwear, they didn't just hand out freebies in Times Square—that kind of thing is for amateurs. Instead, they built a giant "machine" in which mimes did the robot in tinfoil-like suits (because that's how machines work, of course). You'd press a button, the mimes would dance, and then your free long underwear would pop out.

2.) The Olsen twins' book signing: We knew a lot of people would turn out to see Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen sign their book, Influence, at the Barnes & Noble in Union Square, but we weren't really ready for the level of insanity that guided the event. Exhibit A: The Nine Rules, which very specifically dictated the sort of behavior the Olsens' handlers expected from their fans. (Yes to squealing, no to mentioning New York Minute.) We're still amazed we didn't get kicked out for something egregious, like coat-wearing.

1.) Chanel Mobile Art: And now it's time for the mother of all promotional events, that Zaha Hadid–designed, Karl-approved moonship that touched down in Central Park this fall. Sure, we giggled at Jeanne Moreau's growly, often-incomprehensible guided tour ("step into my handbag...and see how life...is defined...by forms..."), but we're still sad to hear the spacecraft has been grounded.

Uniqlo - Soho

546 Broadway, New York, NY 10012 Visit Website