Flash Mob’s – What are they and can they be used in marketing?

Whether it’s the feeling that you want to join in, or just witnessing something truly brilliant, Flash Mob Marketing is up there with the greats and is a classic case of ‘interactive advertising’.

A Flash Mob  is a group of people who assemble suddenly in a place, perform an unusual and seemingly pointless act for a brief time, then disperse, often for the purposes of entertainment, satire, and artistic expression.

Invented in 2003 by Bill Wasik, senior editor of Harper’s Magazine, these Guerrilla style ads are becoming more and more prominent on the marketing scene, with the likes of T-mobile (Now EE) and Nokia getting involved. This type of advertising is an unconventional system of promotions that relies on time, energy and imagination rather than a big marketing budget, to promote shows, create awareness and generate buzz.

Flash Mob’s as Charity Awareness- Free Hugs Campaign

I stumbled upon this advert from ‘Juan Mann’ raising the awareness of ‘One Love’ a few years ago, and fighting discrimination against people with Aids. It is both simple and genius. Featuring a man walking the streets with a sign saying”Free Hugs” as a symbol of human hope spreading through the city. The backing music from ‘Sick Puppies’ mixes brilliantly with the message they are trying to portray. “What we then witness is the true spirit of humanity comes together in what can only be described as awe inspiring”. The strap line explains “Aids is not transmitted this way…But love is…Together lets fight against discrimination”

Flash Mob’s in Marketing T-Mobile

T-Mobile generated a series of adverts which used a ‘live’, everyday setting (a train station, an airport) and turned it into a stage. The adverts involved dancing, singing, and getting people involved. The end of the adverts stated the tag line “Life is for sharing”.

Liverpool Train Station- This started with the train time table announcement system turning into a D.J. for what would become a giant stage for enthusiasm through brilliant dancing filled with smiles. Starting small and ending with 350 dancers breaking into a mass dance routine. The ad, created by Saatchi & Saatchi, also attracted attention through YouTube where to date it has clocked over 11 million views.


Heathrow Terminal 5 –

Trafalgar Square –

Flash Mob’s In Films – FWB

Flash Mobs have also gained recognition in films like ‘Friends With Benefits’ (FWB) starring Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake. The film shows Timberlake playing an aspiring marketer; Kunis then persuades him to stay in New York through the use of a Flash Mob in Time Square. Timberlake later uses the Flash Mob to market his product.


But should more companies be using Flash Mobs to promote their brand more often or are they outdated and over used?  Brand experts sound a word of caution against using flash mob frequently as they tend to become very predictable.

Although Flash Mob’s pose the threat of becoming overused and predictable they are still generating huge success through viral marketing and being spread across different social media platforms, often producing messages of people coming together as one, spreading the love, or just being amazed. Therefore, I would like to see a lot more of this marketing technique in future adverts please. Here are some more examples of Flash Mob’s being used in marketing, along with a word from the Flash Mob creator Bill Wasik.

Wasik Introduces Flash Mob’s

Nokia Lumia “The Amazing Everyday”

Improv Everywhere : Frozen Grand Central

St Patrick’s Flashmob in Sydney by Tourism Ireland

Please share and comment whether or not you think Flash Mob”s are outdated …


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