When flash mobs first became part of popular culture in 2003, they were deemed unique, creative and cost effective. Get a large group together and perform a simple act in a public location. Eight years later and it could be argued that none of these three characteristics can be associated with a flash mob. Flash mobs are mostly now used as an advertising technique, and likely have 300 trained dancers, expert choreographers, recognized (and costly) music, multiple corporate videographers, and ultimately cost close to six figures. While appreciating it youâ€™re still left asking â€œwhat exactly does that have to do with phonesâ€?! As I stated in a previous blog, they are quickly becoming a production, and not a flash mob.
So how do you get back to basics and keep your flash mob unique & creative? For a start, they donâ€™t all have to be singing and dancing, which is the main technique used for a flash mob. If planning a flash mob make it relevant to your brand and try and not be so scripted. Have a concept with room for spontaneity. Keep it guerrilla!
I had the pleasure of recently working with Entripy Custom Clothing which presented me with this opportunity. When I met with Entripy they discussed the apparel industries main concern at the moment is the rising price of cotton, which has increased by 70% in 2011 alone. In spite of this they are managing to keep costs lower than competitors by improving quality control. We planned to therefore symbolically showcase their fight with cotton by performing flash tug-of-wars, with Entripy winning every battle.
This was more purposeful to Entripy than simply getting 300 people together and staging a dance. It also acted as an educational tool in addition to promoting their brand. Furthermore it was able to integrate a familiar activity (a tug of war), that everyone understands but yet is not often witnessed in public. In other words, a flash mob.