Category B08. Events & Stunts
Product/ServiceSTORE OPENING
Name Company Position
Eugen Prosquill Warda Network GmbH CEO
Jakob Kattner Warda Network GmbH Creative Director
Anna Bonfiglio Warda Network GmbH Key Account
Jürgen Bogner Warda Network GmbH Sales

The Campaign

The creative idea behind the campaign was to take up a current controversial topic in order to create public awareness. Originally directed towards the clothing worn by some ultra-conservative Muslim women, a different probably not intended scope of application of the new law should be pointed out. By getting a man who was working for the McShark electronic store fined, not only a “socially relevant” point on the implications of the burqa-ban law was made, additionally, huge media coverage of the McShark store opening was generated.


The agency Network admitted to having dressed a man in a (full body) shark costume to challenge the new burqa-ban law. The 'incident' resulted in one of the biggest and strikingly successful PR stunts in international news outlets creating a massive echo with a relatively low budget. Timeline: October 6: release of the photo October 9: Austrian media picks up on the story October 10: spreading photo and video material to international news outlets October 11: release of press report stating that we wanted to make a "social relevant point" Scale: 1.3 billion (Media impressions) 1.2 million Interactions on social media 190 mass media publications in over 30 countries

Tier 1: By gaining a worldwide reach of more than 1.3 billion media impressions the PR stunt not only achieved an unforeseen boost in brand awareness for McShark but also prompted questions about the social relevance of the new anti-burqa law. Tier2: The PR stunt not only lead to an increase in brand awareness and press and media coverage of the shop opening but also raised fundamental questions about the controversial new restrictions on wearing face coverings in public places which entered into force just one week before the PR stunt. The law was examined as being either discriminating against those who wear a traditional Islamic dress or simply being a little ridiculous. Additionally, it also fueled up the debate on anti-veil laws in general as only a small number of women (in Austria) actually wear the full-face veil. 1.2 Million Interactions on social media Tier 3: Increase in sales within the first week: 27.5% CPT price of 0.0003 Euro in media sales Media Impressions worldwide / McShark: 1.3 billion

The Situation

The PR Stunt got international recognition based on the critically acclaimed burqa-ban law that entered into force in Austria in October 2017. Media took up on the topic questioning its sense regarding a mascot for a marketing campaign. The person behind the full-body costume was forced to show his face while working for the McShark Store opening. The case opened up a worldwide debate on the Austrian burqa-ban law and how it should be executed. The law that is aimed to forbid full-face covering including Islamic veils has claimed an oddly unusual victim: a man wearing a shark costume.

The Strategy

A man was dressed in a shark costume to promote the shop opening and to attract passers-by, tourists and locals. The opening was accompanied by a photo- and video-team and attended by bloggers and social influencers who covered the opening via facebook live stream. Suddenly the police showed up, due to an anonymous complaint, and forced the promoter to remove the head of the costume and fined him €150. Shortly after, we (the creative agency Network) released a picture of the promoter without his shark-head bearing following statement: “Today we were at the McShark store opening and our shark mascot received a fine from the police due to the new ban on face coverings! Life is not easy!” The incident was reported in Austria’s biggest newspapers and broadcasted on Austria’s largest news programme. From there the news spread like a wildfire across the world.