Thursday, February 5, 2009

Yes........Life is For Sharing

click on image to view video

Today I received an email from my 82 year old dad. He sent a link to a video on YouTube which his good friend Hans (also in his 80’s) had forwarded to him. I clicked on the video, and it was the t-Mobile UK’s Dance (Life is For Sharing) at Liverpool Train station that has been a viral sensation since it aired on January 16th .

If you haven't seen the video: here it is!

Let’s look at some of the stats

  • there have been over 2.9 million impressions on YouTube and some 6500+ viewers cared enough to leave a comment
  • the video has ranked amongst the top 10 videos seen – on Feb 3 it was #3 – and this for an ad
  • the video has also been mentioned on over 26,900 blogs around the world

And the commentary has been incredibly positive, using words like “heartwarming”, “Restores your spirit” and “OPA! Meu primmeiro post”

All this for an ad by a phone company. Brilliant.

The ad broke through the clutter, taking “flash-mobbing” from guerilla to mainstream. Flash-mobs are not new (see history below), but t-Mobile is the first big brand to use the medium effectively. Interestingly, Home Depot and Best Buy have been flash-mobbed by “Improv Everywhere” ( back in 2006 in their stores, but the videos did not generate the viral impact that t-Mobile’s Dance has. And the brand & marketing folks from those big box stores did not see the potential to take the idea into the social and viral media the way t-Mobile's agency did.

The campaign is about getting people to engage in conversations and share stories by encouraging viewers to post camera videos on a YouTub website accompanying the ad. It hit the brand's bull'eye, "life is for sharing" spot-on.

When I asked my Dad why he liked the ad, he said “it makes you feel good and lets you still enjoy a moment where you can forget about the misery and chaos in the world today”. And it wasn’t just one person enjoying a moment, but it was the spontaneous combustion of joy that erupted over music and dance. The medium was viral so friends are sharing with friends.

No animals were used to create the dance – it was cruelty free and organic.

And finally, the ad is engaging – it lifts the spirit, it is both modern and nostalgic, appealing to universal youth – (80 year olds are in reality 20 year olds trapped in older bodies - or at least my parents are!). It has managed to connect with a variety of audiences in a fragmented media market.

It is refreshing to see how T-Mobile is tapping into the culture of today not by rehashing the Depression (like Allstate – and yah, I know it’s all about the values) but by bringing us a pure moment of joy. While brilliantly choreographed, it was the implied simplicity of song and dance, all very human and inspirational, that touched us.

So like any effective ad, it will be interesting to see how this campaign translates into additional users/sales for T-Mobile. With all the millions of impressions, did the brand name stick or was it purely “advertainment? (My Dad, for example, did not know it was a t-Mobile ad).

And what's next? It looks like there is huge upside for the brand to use spontaneity and video sharing as a viral platform to build phone usage (especially upsell to new/better/faster/richer media models).

Who knows - perhaps t-Mobile's "Dance" will inspire people to create their own flashmobs or random acts of joyful spontaneity.

Yes……life is for sharing.

Pure potential!

Background notes:

From Wikipedia:

A flash mob is a group of people who organize on the Internet and then quickly assemble in a public place, do something bizarre, and disperse

Notable flash mobs:

Worldwide Pillow Fight Day

Worldwide Pillow Fight Day (or International Pillow Fight Day) was a pillow fight flash mob that took place on March 22, 2008. Over 25 cities around the globe participated in the first "international flash mob", which was the world's largest flash mob to date.[13] According to The Wall Street Journal, over 5,000 participated in New York City, Word spread via social networking sites, including Facebook, Myspace, private blogs, public forums, personal websites, as well as by word of mouth, text messaging, and email. Participating cities included Basel, Beirut, Boston, Budapest, Chicago, Copenhagen, Dublin, Houston, Innsbruck, London, Los Angeles, Melbourne, Monterrey, New York City, Paris, Pécs, Shanghai, San Francisco, Stockholm, Sydney, Vancouver, Washington, D.C., Zurich.

Silent disco

Another example of a well known flash mob was the April 2006 silent disco in London. At various underground stations around London, people gathered with their portable music devices and at a set time all started dancing to their music. At the time this was by far the largest flash mob gathering by a considerable amount. It was reported at Victoria Station more than 4,000 people were in attendance. This impacted the regular service of the London underground system enough for the city's police to begin crowd control and slowly clear people. Though no one was arrested it was reported that the City of London pledged to counter future disruption of the underground system. Since 2006, there have been several flash mobs including subsequent silent discos, comparable in size, in the London underground.

t-Mobile “Dance” info

- Secretly filmed at Liverpool Street commuter Station at 11am

- 350 dancers

- Celeb Choreographer Ashley Wallen took the dancers through an intensive 80 hour rehearsal to ensure they nailed the performance as they could only film a single take.

- Commuters stand and watch in amazement as the routine gets going and many can be seen taking pictures on their phones still unaware of what is happening around them.

- The stunt happened at 11am and the crew had 36 hours to film, edit and get the piece to air which was premiered as a full ad break during Celeb Big Brother.

- Music played: LuLu's 1965 hit Shout, 'The Only Way Is Up' by Yazz, 'Don't Cha', Pussycat Dolls, 'The Blue Danube Waltz' by Strauss, Kool & The Gang's 'Get Down On It' , 'Since You've Been Gone' by Rainbow, 'My Boy Lollipop', Millie Small and 'Do You Love Me' by The Contours.

1 comment:

  1. "80 year olds are in reality 20 year olds trapped in older bodies"

    ha ha, I love that line. oh and I love your blog. I was a barista in my day at a Starbucks in Vancouver and later, Victoria.