Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Is the Flip Flash Mob a successful marketing execution?

Now I love a flash mob. From a social perspective they're underground, they're thought provoking and they challenge social norms. And from a marketing perspective they're a communication medium that, if done correctly, can send your message to millions and millions of engaged consumers for a cost that would make a TVC producer cringe.

But if a brand is going to pay for a flash mob execution to be created, surely it is with the intention of brand exposure? You know, the reason why marketers are marketers. ie to get their brand in front of the right audience in order to sell more products. If so (and please correct me if I'm wrong or out of line here) then I don't understand why 'Flip' (which is a handy instrument for mobile videography that I have had first hand experience with) wouldn't capitalise on branding in the viral video below (thanks Mumbrella).

Am I the only one who thinks this is a wasted opportunity? Considering the hope is that this video will generate millions of views like the flash mobs underneath, it doesnt make sense to me that there is no branded pre roll or post roll to the video nor anyone in the crowd subtly demonstrating the use of the flip?

Anyone else agree or disagree?

If you can't get enough of flash mobs like me then see below for some of the most impressive examples I've seen (branded and non branded). Enjoy!

The T-Mobile Dance at Liverpool Station (15 million views) -

Trident Unwrapped, Beyonce, Piccadilly Circus (2 million views) -

Frozen in Grand Central (19 million views) -

Sound of Music Central Station Antwerp (2 million views) -

Michael Jackson Tributes (4 million views) -


  1. Agree, you could pretty much say they used the t-mobile playbook with song, dance, subtle product placement. But as zac said, execution was off. And for t-mobile to turn around such a massive production in 48 hours, it sets the bar pretty high for the same play.

  2. Yeh you're right Alex, same playbook. How unimaginative..

    I also think they could have done more with the product placement - I only noticed it now, the second time I viewed it. And tahts only becasue I knew what I was lookikng for.. I just think if teh objective is getting the phone in front of people they have failed as most would walk away from that video still not knowing what a flip is...

  3. hmm dis is a tough one. they're banking on people's natural curiosity to go further and find out what it's all about. and if they win that its going to be a lot stronger than mere awareness, it might result in actual sales. they don't want this to seem like an ad, because if adlandia hasn't learnt it already they should now- we don't like stunts that are meant to make us think they happened naturally. the weird thing about this video is that it could be a normal scripted and acted TVC, in many ways it is- they're all actors, it's choreographed, the production is good, but they're still trying to keep some sort of credibility to it. in concludo- if you are going to do a flash mob for a brand and want to sustain some sort of viewer curiousity. this is probably the way to do it by not having lame product placement, but in this case it just comes off too shick and tv-like that they probably should have just whacked the Flip logo at the end. Incidentally, I did go and look at the product and am quite keen on one now.

  4. add cheesy music to that list of things that make it a TVC. I think using that old Ben Lee dance remix is a bad idea, because Ben Lee dance remixes have become synonymous with Coca Cola I thinky. They ran that 'we're all in this together' ad for almost three years.

  5. I agree Bones, that they were banking on ppl's natural curiosity to find out what it's all about. Sure this would have been the best result. But without any branding ppl don't even know that there is a product associated with it?

    Re the quality of the production I don't think it really matters personally.. At the end of the day someone will pass on the link (which is the objective..) if they think the concept and execution is good enough to pass on. The central station flash mob for example has received 19 million hits, and that was a tip shelf production.

    But you are most definately onto somethign with the choice of song! An original song would have made the whole thing a lot less cheesy. God the importance of song choice is so under-estimated in these types of executions!