We are living in an age of constant saturation of marketing images, messages and products. Given this barrage of marketing, it is easy to understand why audiences have become much more discerning and much more difficult to reach.
Marketing firms are constantly searching for new innovative and buzz-worthy ways to grab the attention of ever-elusive customers. In recent years, “flash mob” marketing has proven to garner attention when done effectively.
A flash mob is a term used when a group of people gather in a public place, perform an “unexpected” dance and/or singing routine for a few minutes and quickly disperse.
They are meant to seem spontaneous, amuse and, above all, generate publicity and positive word of mouth for a brand.
T-Mobile is one of the notable brands that used this type of “performativity” for promotional purposes to great effect. Three hundred and fifty dancers performed at the Liverpool Train Station in England to mash-up of pop music and choreography.
Reportedly the station had to close for 90 minutes after the uproarious reaction of the more than 13,000 people that witnessed this spectacle. The subsequent You Tube video went viral with more than 33 million viewers and counting. So successful has this marketing been for T-Mobile that it continues to use flash mob marketing to this day.
For a flash mob to work for marketing purposes, a firm must keep the element of surprise without seeming too manufactured. These are, after all, brand-orchestrated flash mobs.
Companies must take care not to have customers feel as though they are pawns. It should, above all, be fun, exciting and buzz-worthy. If these campaigns are able to click on all cylinders, as T-Mobile did, the pay- off is great.
Not only are spectators mesmerized by a powerful routine that happened during a seemingly mundane day, but they will later send links of the flash mob to friends and families. When a marketing flash mob goes viral, it is worth millions in branding.
Michelle Mayer is blogger at Mijo! Brands in Mexico.
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