My flash mob is better than yours. Period.

Hello world,

[Been sick for a minute now I’m back up on this broadcast channel. Like it or not, voice will be heard.]

Today I want to talk about flash mobs or “Hi cool street musical” (get it?). I’m tired of them. I mean seriously. Well let me rephrase that, I’m tired of flash mobs here on US soils. If you do a bit of research, you’ll see that they all look, sound, and are “choreographed” the same. Yes it’s surprising for the people that walk by, drive by or tweet by. But I’m sorry to say this: They’re boring.

They are, for the most part, a complete eye sore to me. I know I should not say that because of the amount of hard work, planning and sadly money that goes into it. But I can’t help it.

Seriously, what happened to being creative in our spontaneity? A flash mob in essence is a group of people that assemble suddenly in a public place to perform an act that either entertains or satire. I want to add: act that creatively entertains bystanders taking them out of their daily routine while meeting set objectives. Maybe people see “entertain” as a synonym of “dancing”…I hope not.

Looking at the most talked about flash mobs on US soils for the past 3 months, I can’t help but wonder if the same group of people orchestrated them.

*By most talked about I mean the most successful viral flash mob videos.

Wells Fargo: “Wells Fargo celebrates our New York roots. Wells Fargo returns to New York to salute the City with a surprise celebration in Times Square. Special thanks to all of the talented performers who, together, make New York one of the most vibrant places in the world. Together we’ll go far.”

American Airlines: “On April 5th we added ten new destinations from LAX including a nonstop flight to Shanghai and nine other US cities. We were so excited we felt like dancing! So, on April 4th, we kicked-off the celebration and danced our way into downtown Los Angeles at the US Bank Plaza. 40 dancers descended down the plaza, taking unsuspecting bystanders by surprise, with a fun and uplifting routine sure to have you tapping your toes.”

Really? Flash mobs? (first of all, as soon as people see the cameras and the crew before anything happens, it’s not a flash mob anymore) Is that all they’re good for on this side of the globe? Don’t get me wrong I love to watch friends and strangers dance. But I mean is this really all we can offer to our audience? Sad. I think we as a collective need to review our strategy when it comes to putting these in place.

We’ve seen creative executions of flash mob around the globe and they’ve shown us that there’s more to a flash mob than dancing. In my opinion, a flash mob has to accomplish 3 things:

  • Be totally unexpected.
  • Connect with the Audience.
  • Meet set (promotional) goals and objectives.

Very few flash mobs out there are able to do that. Take in consideration the research element to harness data, relevant data on the audience. Wait, just because it’s a flash mob it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do your homework.  Think more like : Where is your target audience hanging out? What kind of food they eat? Who are they in their daily life? Do your homework before you go out there and be another dancing group.
Connecting with the audience is very important. Not everybody can dance, that we know, otherwise shows like “Dancing with the Stars” and “So you thing you dance” wouldn’t be great television. But they are deeper levels of connection to be reached. Ask yourself why they’re using your product? If it’s a new product you’re launching, depict how you want you audience to feel like when they come in contact with it. The point is: possibilities are endless.

I’d like to believe that advertising that doesn’t sale is Art. But I’ve learned that as soon as you see your work as Art, you’ve stopped considering the marketing objectives to focus on aesthetics. Don’t forget why you got hired: To sell a product.

I want to salute DDB Paris for their amazing flash mob initiatives for SNCF. They took the time to come up with something unexpected that connected with the audience and still met their promotional goals.

More information on that campaign from DDB for SNCF can be found here.

“Ceci dit” I invite all my fellow flash mob coordinator, ad dollar spenders, planners, and writers to cordially “step” their flash mob game up.

Peace.

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