OK, it’s time to come clean. My name is Kevin and I organised Manchester’s first flash mob. Good God, it feels great to get that off my chest!
So why am I coming clean about this, 9 years after the original stunt? Well, since it’s inception, flash mobbing has grown in both ambition and popularity, and as one of the original anarchists I’ve always kept an eye on it’s development. It’s ambition and scope has blossomed in the long term, with creative executions far exceeding anything that could have been imagined by it’s founding fathers (witness Improv Everywhere’s “Best Game Ever” for irrefutable proof). And in the popularity stakes, you can’t have turned on your TV in the past few months without seeing T-Mobile’s perfectly orchestrated “impromptu” dance show (with 10 million YouTube views and counting), and that’s without mentioning the 14,000 fans who signed up to partake in a recreation of the stunt, bringing Liverpool St Station to a standstill back in February.
And this brings us to today, and specifically Trident’s new viral. The idea? Get 100 girls to dance to a Beyonce record in Piccadilly Circus. To the untrained eye, an altogether similar execution, but so far from the mark as to be criminal. T-Mobile understood that flash mobbing can be more than a publicity stunt – their smart move was in that they knew how everyone would react on seeing the action take place: they’d whip out their phone, make a call, capture video to send to friends, take a photo for Facebook. And in that, the brand becomes an integral part of the idea.
For Trident? Well, they’re giving away some Beyonce tickets. Need I say more?