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cultural vandal | by maryann johanson

watch it: “T-Mobile Sing-along Trafalgar Square”

I debated with myself whether to post this or not, because while the whole T-Mobile flashmob thing started out back in February as a truly viral thing, it has now become something that is consciously being manufactured for marketing purposes. Of course, that first group dance at London’s Liverpool Street train station was devised as a marketing scheme too, but it later took on aspects beyond that, that T-Mobile could not have anticipated or even planned for. But here…

Yes, the video itself is kinda cool, and it is interesting, from a sociological perspective, to know that the 13,500 people who descended upon Trafalgar Square thought they’d be dancing — seeing how they react to suddenly being asked to sing is intriguing. But you also have to wonder: How many of these people give a shit about T-Mobile? How many of them may be actively hostile to T-Mobile, or would be, if they’d known they were being appropriated to sell cellular phone services? How many are T-Mobile customers, and how many will switch to T-Mobile because of this?

I’ll also note that I learned about this via a PR agency that specifically works to promote “viral” video — surely an oxymoron; can you “promote” “viral” anything? — and the social-networking aspects of the Web. They offered to pay me to promote this video and the ad that will be cut down from this to play on British TV. I refused any payment.

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