‘Experiential’ ad campaign a viral hit on YouTube

The pressure is on for advertising agencies who have to work harder and harder to attract the attention of jaded, seen-it-all consumers. In response, forward thinking marketers are turning to “flash mobs” and the staging of co-ordinated events linked to social media as a way of spreading their message and breaking through the clutter.

The logic is simple: a live, unexpected event has an immediacy and a surprise-factor that elicits strong reactions from the people present, which makes for great footage and a willingness to spread the message virally.

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T-Mobile, a British mobile phone operator created a campaign that is winning fans all over the world under the banner “Life’s for Sharing”, which employed the talents of a flashmob to inspire scores of weary travellers returning to London via Heathrow Airport.

Spencer McHugh, T-Mobile’s brand director, said: “We wanted to create and capture a moment that is so unique and upbeat that people just want to share it”.

The campaign was created by Saatchi & Saatchi, and executed by a “vocal orchestra” who use their voices to provide musical backing to some talented singers placed strategically around Heathrow’s Terminal 5.

By carefully selecting some great songs, discreetly positioning 18 hidden cameras and a few cordless microphones, the campaign managed to cut through the clutter of wall-to-wall ads to deliver a campaign that makes you laugh and cry at the same time, and want to share it with your friends.

Take a look at the result:

The footage was cut together and released simultaneously via Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and is the third in a series of Flashmob-inspired ads for T-Mobile, following scenes that were filmed in London’s Liverpool Street station and Trafalgar Square.

Here is the Liverpool Street Station ad, which won TV commercial of the year.

Not everyone is a fan of these well-coordinated events. Writing on the Independent blog, Ian Burrrell was less than complementary: “Look don’t get me wrong, I love good creative advertising. But I love it best on the screen, on the page, on the outdoor hoarding. These manufactured crowds I can do without.”

But with more and more brands fighting to attract attention, it is safe to assume that this wave of innovative advertising is going to keep happening for some time to come.

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