Sunday, December 12, 2010
Give The Marketers Time And There Won’t Be A Town Without A Flashmob-Style Advertisment By 2030
Flashmobbing has become a fad of late and it is easy to see why; the spontaneous, silly actions are quite funny. Flashmobbing is nothing new either, considering the term was first used back in 2003, I even remember there was a Flashmob society at my university (I heard they once ran into Cardiff town centre for a spontaneous water balloon fight before scarpering).
The fun and hilarity is being hijacked by the marketers now however, as T-Mobile continues to ramp up it’s televisual, ‘feelgood’ public transport sing-a-long ad campaign. The phone company has made a few adverts set around public areas already, normally involving a mass group of people singing or dancing, whilst the camera occasionally pans to shots of smiling onlookers clutching their phones and texting with glee. It’s easy to see how this is effective marketing in that sense.
The latest offering however, has actually perturbed me a little more than the others. It is set in the Heathrow Terminal 5 international arrivals area and this time “fun” is compulsory for all citizens and people entering the UK, as the singers are targeting (random or non-random it’s hard to tell) strangers and in some cases giving them a bit of a fright.
Sometimes happiness is genuinely infectious but this example just looks terrifying. Picture the scene if you will: You’ve spent 12 hours on a long haul flight, you’re tired and just faced the twin joys of immigration (lord only knows how someone who has been given a cavity search is going to feel at this point) and baggage claim, then you faced with a surprising onslaught of wide-eyed, smirking singing dancing people, who then start jostling you to join in, as well as making you smile as your on camera. That’s right people you are on TV, right now, no chance to prepare yourself, no time cover up those bags under your eyes or hide the fact that you’ve got obviously messed up hair from trying to sleep on your flight. Also don’t show your lack of enthusiasm at taking part in the charade, as you will be outed as the scrooge you are, and we all know the public doesn’t like a scrooge… If you don’t play along you might get voted out of life by a telephone poll, that I’m sure is now expected in most spheres of life by the roaring masses.
I am now genuinely afraid of using public transport for fear of being set upon. Terrorism doesn’t scare me nor does the idea of a crash but the thought of people singing and dancing hovering around me does make me quite scared. Judging from the comments about the adverts I think I might be in the minority, as many people actually would rather like this to happen to them. I expect this could lead to a lot more flashmob-like events of this nature but nationwide or even further afield. Other marketers surely are going to look at the success of this and want a piece of the action.
We might end up with all our public transport injected with fungeneered bullshit such as this, to brighten up our country’s image and to make the public happier (not to mention sell a few phones). It’ll be fun, it’ll be just like North Korea.
Do you fancy being set upon, when worn out, by an awkward bunch of smiling singing bastards, or do you think you are going to start walking round with a tazer more often? Let me know…