The First Flash Mob: Marketing Lessons from the Love Rug

The first modern flash mob checks out a rug to see if it's right for their "free love commune."

Legend has it (and most people agree) that the very first modern flash mob happened in a New York Macy’s on the evening of June 17th, 2003. The “moberators” (great interview with the mythical moberator mastermind “Bill”) coordinated one hundred people who descended on the store and, for roughly ten minutes, asked the sales staff questions about a $10,000 rug they intended to use as their free-love commune’s shared “love rug.”

However, few people know that Love Rug flash mob was actually part of a second attempt after a failed flash mob. The original plan was to get a huge crowd of people outside of a Claire’s Accessories just for fun, but seven police officers and a police wagon were sufficient deterrent to discourage the flashmobbers. Someone had alerted the police before the event took place. But did mythical moberator Bill give up? Nay. This is what the Claire’s mob taught him (and us!):

Have a pre-mob location

Allow the mob to form at a separate location (or locations) so that when the decided time arrives, the mob can appear in full strength very quickly.

Timing

Flash mobs should be short and sweet. Seamless flow between pre-mob locations, meeting for the mob, and dispersal is integral to avoiding reprimand and also in achieving the desired “flash” effect.

Keep it underground

If too many people know about the mob, someone will alert Claire’s…

In our own experiences with flash mobs, we’ve also had some fun experiences surprising people with something unexpected. Check out our blog about the Candies Foundation teen pregnancy awareness campaign or a great video featuring pop star Ciara and YouTube sensation Keenan Cahill goofing around with our ‘pregnant teen flashmobbers.’

So, if you ever need a flash mob,

The GC Marketing Strategies Team

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