Rihanna's '777' Plane Tour: How the Disastrous Publicity Stunt Spawned Album Sales (Infographic)
Despite cranky journalists, the "777" trek generated 1 billion media impressions -- and helped the singer's "Unapologetic" land at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.
This story first appeared in the Dec. 7 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Rihanna's promo tour for her seventh album, Unapologetic -- during which the singer traveled to seven countries in seven nights in a chartered 777 jet carrying 265 journalists and fans -- brought press stunts to new, er, heights.
Even though planes repeatedly were delayed and journalists complained about limited access to the songstress (some handed out "Missing: Rihanna" fliers and chanted, "Save our jobs!"), the air adventure -- which visited Mexico City, Toronto, Stockholm, Berlin, Paris, London and New York City - generated 1 billion media impressions, according to label Island Def Jam Music Group.
Not all, of course, were positive. But for every bitch and moan -- the "fleck"-sized diamond (1 percent of a carat, it turns out), Ri's stage banter on replay, the fact that her tour accountant had a better seat -- the schadenfreude spiked conversation on social media, blogs and news reports throughout the world.
Did the pricey tour pay off? Aside from a few bruised egos, Unapologetic's first single, "Diamonds," reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 the morning after the trek wrapped Nov. 20, her 12th career chart-topper. And Rihanna, who had never had an album top the Billboard 200, finally got her wish when Unapologetic debuted at No. 1, selling 238,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Says IDJ president and COO Steve Bartels, "I can tell you from firsthand experience that no one works harder, and has more fun doing it, than Rihanna."
See THR's handy infographic below detailing Rihanna's 777 tour by the numbers.