A tale of two flash mobs x
Flash Mobs have been getting a large amount of negative press lately – articles have been published, sentences have been handed down, and national attention has been drawn. With the large amount of attention, there has been just as much discussion about strategies to curb the trend; and although some of these tactics appear to be working, it still seems like a flash mob can break out at any given second. The tension is as thick as the iodine in the water. I (probably along with many other Philadelphians) think the whole thing is being seriously mismanaged. It’s pretty clear the real problem with the Philly flash mob is image. Flash mobs in other cities are light hearted, fun, and usually involve a group of uncoordinated newlywed mothers. By stark contrast flash mobs in Philly are violent and filled with black teenagers.
These are tough times, and open letters to the editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer aren’t going to get the job done. What shocks me is that no one can recognize that we’re sitting on a gold mine here. Flash mobs have the potential to be as uniquely Philadelphian as the cheese steak. And rather than appointing high-salaried task forces and czars, I think we need to come together as a city and find a way to monetize this for our own benefit. What the Philadelphia flash mob really needs is a serious branding makeover.
As a civic-minded Philadelphian and marketing professional, I have volunteered my time and came up with some surefire ideas to increase the Philadelphia’s flash mob brand.
Step 1: Get a logo
I came up with this one:
Step 2: Market the Event Internationally
Rule number one of any good business plan – start local – go global. Have you ever been interested in going to Spain for the running of the bulls? Well no need to get that passport updated, this is the same exact thing. A running of the bulls for white people. Now you might be thinking, that’s stupid, people get hurt during flash mobs. Well, people get hurt during the running of the bulls; more seriously one could argue. Also, we have better hospitals here – get gored in Valencia and you’ll be there so long your visa expires; get shanked here and Jefferson will have you out the next morning.
Step 3: Stand Out From the Pack
One nut is already cracked – flash mobs already have name recognition that our city is associated with nationally. We just need to capture that recognition and exploit it.
Step 3.1 – Defining what makes our flash mobs uniquely valuable - That unique benefit is the thrill of the violence. The intangible. The adrenaline associated with running for your life while stuffing your cell phone in your sneaker.
Step 3.2 – Communicating that value in a way that’s easy to remember and clearly understandable – I have come up with an ad campaign that both focuses on the unique value of our flash mobs and distinctly separates us from the competition, namely every-day flash mobs that are organized by hack PR firms and in weight-loss forums on the internet.
Here are the first series of ads:x
Step 4: Drive Your Message Home
A good way to achieve this is to piggyback onto another issue that people are already passionate about here in Philadelphia. You see members of the Phillies doing this all the time. Take the school funding gap and partner with that (although we probably don’t want to close too much of the educational funding gap, because that might be counterproductive to our product). It’s like how big tobacco partners with all those anti-smoking groups. I don’t know how it works, but it does.
I created another ad:
Step 5: Deliver
Completing all the previous steps are difficult , but they mean absolutely nothing without mastering this last step. Brand is about creating, managing, and exceeding expectations. The event itself will have to go off without a hitch. Ideally there will be some standouts from the event. I’m thinking a modern day Running Man celebrity type of thing. Then post-event we will start a labor-intensive black-hat internet SEO campaign. Our team of interns and staffers will flood message boards, publish articles, and make sure that the first 10 results when someone Googles “flash mob” are images from Philadelphia’s event.
Then we take the Flash Mob Running Man on a press tour and *poof* the “flash mob” is ours forever.
See you in summer 2012!