Next week, Skillman Video Group is set to film a flash mob set up by a local non-profit. Since its inception in 2003, flash mobs have been entertaining unsuspecting passersby with their spontaneous yet organized public group performances, usually involving dancing and singing. Because of the amount of coordinating and planning that goes into it through social media and email, most of these occurrences are filmed and made into short videos, which most often go viral. The fun is in watching the confused people who stare dumbfounded by what is before them and the increasing delight that appears on their faces as they realize what is going on. For this reason, flash mob videos make for great marketing vehicles for businesses selling a product or creating awareness for their company.
From T-Mobile’s song and dance numbers in Liverpool and Trafalgar train stations followed by Heathrow airport in 2010, to Delta and Southwest airport outbursts in 2011, to Finnair’s dancing flight attendants in celebration of an Indian holiday on a flight to that country in 2012, major companies have made these musical flash mobs a part of their marketing campaigns. This guerilla style advertising approach has grabbed the attention of many consumer and social media companies who see its significance for a successful ad campaign and have realized the excellent potential of public stunts to increase word of mouth tracking rates. Like any trend, the flash mob concept has evolved but continues to be relevant even by the internet community’s discerning standards, the main target audience for these videos. More recently, companies have used the large group performing in public framework and taken it to a different level. The Copenhagen Philharmonic Orchestra played an impromptu concert to amused subway riders to promote a local radio station and Tic Tac’s unique “Death” shows a whole city center ‘dying’ after smelling the breath of a passerby. All of these videos have gone insanely viral, and have been successful as part of their video marketing campaigns in terms of revenue. T-Mobile showed a 52% increase in sales from their first Liverpool video and a 129% return-on-investment from the second.
It’s no secret that flash mobs are effective for video marketing, and that they are no easy feat with the weeks of planning and gathering of participants and talent and precision of camerawork and audio, the payoff is even sweeter. In fact, they are so popular that Flash Mob America, a full service flash mob production company, exists and has an impressive client list like BMW, Dell, and ABC. Flash mobs are infectious fun and with businesses conceiving clever, original videos all the time, you never know if you may one day be that unsuspecting passerby.