I've made no secret of my love of flash-mobs. They rock. While I haven't yet had the honor myself, I imagine it's rather exhilarating to be among the audience members when a seemingly spontaneous public performance breaks out.
Up until now, the comedy troupe Improv Everywhere has been both the biggest evangelist and most popular producer of flash-mob videos. With good reason; nearly everything they put out is amazing. Seriously, if you're not familiar with their work, go check it out (assuming you have a few hours to spare, since it will be hard for you to stop once you start).
But now there's an unlikely new player in the world of awesome flash mob videos: wireless provider, T-Mobile. If you haven't seen it, carve out a quick three-minutes of your day to see how great viral videos are done:
I'll briefly run down what makes this ad so great:
- It's relatively cheap. Without the special effects or celebrity endorsements of traditional commercials, a viral clip like this is considerably cheaper to produce, giving the brand more bang for their buck.
- This thing oozes talent. Every one of those singers is fantastic—they're probably all session singers in the recording industry, they were that on pitch and seamless.
- Variety. The medley is a fantastic choice, because it results in an end-product video that's likely to appeal to more viewers by covering a multitude of styles and eras. I'm pretty sure this wasn't performed as a medley on the day of filming, as some seem to believe. Instead, it looks to me like these were longer performances that merely got edited down into a medley later. Regardless, the diverse music choice was a smart call; there's something for everybody.
- Great reaction shots. Without quality reaction shots of the bemused and amused onlookers, flash mob videos like this one are pointless. It's that shocked smile you see so many times in this clip that is the payoff, since we video viewers didn't have a chance to be there in person. I love the trio of ladies near the end that are swaying back and forth to the music, while also recording the event on a cell phone camera.
- Emotional connections. T-Mobile is definitely trying to push your emotional buttons at times in this clip, and it works. Setting the performance in an airport lends itself nicely to a lot of great imagery around human interaction—hellos, goodbyes, embraces, & greetings.
- A cappella. It's not easy to make instrument sounds with your voice, and I'm always impressed when a cappella groups manage to pull it off. And here is a cast of what looks like hundreds of performers, most of whom are doing the work of instruments—there are drummer voices, violin voices, flute voices, and more. And it's all very well done. It's a great gimmick, and one that helps ramp up the share-ability of this video.
All in all, I couldn't be more impressed. I would have guessed that the first major brand to try and out-flash-mob Improv Everywhere would fall flat on their face in stunning mediocrity. But I would have been wrong. T-Mobile hit this one out of the park, and are being rewarded with millions of views just barely a week after the video went live. It's funny, endearing, and packed with so much entertainment that sharing comes naturally for viewers.