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Marketing on the Fly: The Power of the Flash Mob

Posted on 09/01/14
Over the past decade, flash mobs have been employed by brands of all sizes to generate interest and excitement online. From holiday carols to highly inventive public space take-overs − these choreographed gatherings are fun and attention-grabbing. But should your company include them in your marketing strategy?

Planning an Effective Flash Mob
If a flash mob is poorly planned, it quickly fizzles out, fails to attract massive attention and simply falls flat. An ineffective flash mob is a waste of resources and an embarrassing endeavor. But, when you combine a clever theme with well-organized performers, you have a recipe for success! It's important to execute the choreography in a way that is safe and legal - ensuring minimal threat to the wellbeing of bystanders and performers.

flash-mob-imageOne aspect of conducting a successful flash mob is to select a location that is sure to draw a crowd - one reason why shopping malls and commuter stations are popular settings. You'll need to take into consideration the type of crowd that convenes at the location you choose. For example, a flash mob intended to reach an executive audience is better off sprouting up in a busy train terminal than a recreational park.

Other components of successful flash mobs include access to attention-grabbing audio and obtaining space in an area of high visibility - such as a lobby or popular entrance. Finally, to ensure a successful flash mob, participants need to know what's expected of them, all crucial timing elements and the reaction expected from onlookers. If choreography is complex, it may be useful to have one or two rehearsals at a staging space prior to the event.

Successful Flash Mobs Examples

There are two flash mobs in particular that stand out as exemplary. The first is the now-famous 2010 Hallelujah Chorus, which took place in a mall food court and got hundreds of shoppers in the Christmas spirit.

Second is the Coca-Cola Dance Mob, which occurred in Atlanta's World of Coca-Cola attraction, created to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the widely known and loved carbonated beverage brand.

A couple other excellent examples of successful flash mobs include Best Buy's improv performance and the now famous Filipino prison inmates' choreography to Michael Jackson's "They Don't Care." The commonality between these two seemingly different flash mobs is their originality. While the average Michael Jackson flash mob might be clichéd, "They Don't Care" performed by inmates raised the stakes and made for a more interesting performance.

Promotional Products Help Spread Awareness

After a well-conducted flash mob, your marketing team has a serious job to do in getting the word out about it. Offering clever promotional products that play off of the key elements, imprinted with a hyperlink or QR code leading to video can be highly successful in generating awareness. Pens, stickers, magnets and microfiber cloths may bear the takeaway message and remind people to share the story. Of course, living in the burgeoning age of social media means that there are tons of opportunities to share photos and videos of the event online - to generate the buzz your brand is seeking. Promote your story well enough and it just may go viral!

Author: Robert Stillman CEO

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