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Laurence King/Chronicle Books

Big Ben Gets a Girlfriend


The Plan: BBC television personality Gail Porter was looking to shun her “good girl” image by taking part in lad-mag FHM's “100 Sexiest Women” issue in 1999. Little did she know, her nude photograph would be projected onto the Houses of Parliament in a guerrilla effort by London-based agency Cunning Stunts.

The Reaction: Cunning pulled up in a white van with all their equipment ready to go at the exact moment the lights of Big Ben turned off. During the 10-minute projection, the police arrived-only to complain that the van was illegally parked. Nothing about the projection was illegal, and most Londoners found the connection between voting for the sexiest women and the voting that takes place in Parliament to be in good humor.

The Payoff: Though not many people were around on the rainy Sunday night to witness the event firsthand, Floyd Hayes, creative director for the agency now called Cunning Communications, says they were successful in their primary goal: penetrating the media. “We gave them a perfect newsworthy picture. It was all about the picture-putting that on the wire and seeing who bit,” he says. Hayes estimates the campaign reached some 40 million people.

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