At 7:45 a.m. on Tuesday morning, the group payment startup WePay sent an icy message to payment giant, PayPal at its annual development conference in San Francisco. PayPal, a WePay competitor, has had negative publicity in the past around the issue of freezing some of its members' accounts . WePay obviously wanted to let PayPal customers and developers know that they would not experience the account freeze issue if they were using the WePay system.

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With a limited budget, competing against a giant in the payment industry, WePay elected to do a marketing stunt to get its message across. The WePay team wheeled a massive block of ice with frozen money and a message to PayPal customers and developers: “PayPal Freezes Your Accounts.” One minute after dropping off the massive block of ice in front of San Francisco’s Moscone Center, WePay employees were confronted by security. An hour and half later, the stunt was on the front page of TechCrunch , one of the most popular technology news sites on the web today.

More Than a Cute Story?

Sure, that sounds like a fun story, and I am sure the folks at WePay had a lot of fun doing it, but did it drive actual business results?

According to the WePay team, yes it did. The folks at WePay shared the following results with us from the days following the stunt:

    •    Conversions on the stunt landing page were 3x higher        than a normal day.
    •    300% increase in weekly traffic
    •    225% increase in signups

Those are pretty dramatic results. How did they do it?

Takeaways From a Successful Marketing Stunt

1. Have a Dedicated Landing Page - WePay had a dedicated landing page for its stunt: UnfreezeYourMoney.com . On this page, WePay had two separate calls-to-action for its buyer personas: new users and developers. This landing page converted at a 10% higher rate than the company’s homepage.

2. Be Ready to Make a First Impression - The WePay team had prepared for a spike in engagement. They were ready for more emails, calls, and tweets than normal. With lots of new potential users talking about the stunt, the team needed to be ready to respond and make sure it created a good first impression.

3. Have Fun With the Stunt - When you create something interesting, people always want to know how you did it. It is important to understand that the stunt is meant to be fun, and while you are putting it together, you should plan to take pictures to share with your community. For example, the folks at WePay documented the process on their blog .

What do you think of this stunt? The numbers seem to indicate that it was effective.

Originally published Oct 29, 2010 9:20:00 AM, updated October 20 2016