by Kim Taylor
Flash mobs were all the rage a few years ago. Well-orchestrated mobs have garnered millions of views on YouTube and gained worldwide attention. Then, poof! They faded quietly into the background. To assemble a flash mob now—in 2014—would be inviting praise’s ugly cousin, mockery, to your doorstep. Or, would it?
Kudos to the Orlando Shakespeare Theater for taking a chance on a played-out trend and performing a spectacular Les Miserables flash mob at The Mall at Millenia to publicize the show’s opening. With nearly 100,000 views on YouTube, coverage on NBC’s Today show and CBS Sunday Morning and more press than they probably imagined, they hit it out of the park.
Delving a little deeper into why this worked:
1. They nailed the element of surprise.
Actors in plain clothes carrying shopping bags and Starbucks cups don’t exactly draw suspicion.
2. It was well-planned and executed.
Perhaps by technical terms, this wasn’t a flash mob. We can assume the Mall knew well in advance the performance was going to take place, and it likely wasn’t a spontaneous act, but rather a calculated performance for publicity. However, flawless execution was a big factor for success here.
3. Direct promotional tie-in.
Orlando Shakes wants to sell tickets to the show. They brought a glimpse of the show to a crowded mall, many of whom may’ve been unaware of the show’s opening. What better way to sell than to let your buyer sample the product?
Sometimes the reward is worth the risk.