So I see the old ‘flashmob’ idea has been trotted out again, this time for St Patrick’s Day at Sydney Central Station, courtesy of Tourism Ireland. It featured the cast of Riverdance – in town at the time – spontaneously launching into one of Michael Flatley’s finest.
But as old-hat as a flashmob is, if it’s well executed and timely like this one, I must admit it’s still hugely entertaining, and has real ‘stop and stare’ value. What’s important here is talkability, and it delivers this in spades, providing it’s about the brand, of course. Here it is in it’s glory:
The real authority on flashmobs is a New York collective called Improv Everywhere. They’re a ‘prank collective’ who aim to cause scenes of “chaos” and “joy” in public places. Of course, they’ve got the advantage of not always being tethered to a brand, but this is inspiring, creative stuff. Here’s three of my favourites.
Frozen Grand Central Station
The Worst Ice Skater ever
A couple of weeks ago, I went to Tropfest, the biggest short film festival in the world.
Starting 19 years ago in a Surry Hills bar, the free festival now attracts a shit load of people (around 80,000 I’m told) who gather on picnic blankets in Sydney’s Botanical Gardens to watch 17 short films in the open air. It’s a big deal. It’s broadcast throughout Australia and has a panel of high profile judges, including this year, Olivia Newton-John. And here’s the clever bit; each film has to premier on the night, it must be less than seven minutes long, and it must feature a ‘signature’ object, this year being a ‘key’.
I won’t talk about the controversy surrounding the winner (Badger Badger Badger anyone?), but instead wanted to share a few of my favorites from the fest.
SILENCER. Directed by Doug Bayne & David Collins
BIRD THERAPY Directed by Damien Freeleagus
MONKEYS Directed by Joel Edgerton
And here’s the winner, ANIMAL BEATBOX. Directed by Damon Gameau.
So we’re still all waiting for the revolution – that internet TV will eclipse ‘traditional’ broadcast channels – something TV execs have been predicting for years. But for me, this has already happened, albeit quite late and in not a very interesting way. This realisation was brought about by my own TV breaking; a situation I’ve been forced to live with for two months due to me being too tight to buy a new one. As such I’ve been forced to find alternative, internet-based entertainment, and for me, like many others, internet TV has become a real, and compelling alternative to mainstream broadcasting.
My current favourite is VBS TV, which I compel you to watch. It’s part of the Vice media empire and for those who are familiar with Vice, it’s all you’d expect; vitriolic, irreverent, fashion conscious and youth-obsessed but like the magazine, it also has real substance and depth. Because it’s online, it caters for a much more niche (but by no means small) audience, covering issues that would be considered too marginal or too abrasive for mass consumption. A couple of example headlines include: “Stalking for Beginners” and “A Guy Who Was on Acid for a Whole Year”. So not the kind of things your average Daily Mail reader will be that heavily into.
But these guys know what they’re doing. With cult film director and long-time collaborator, Spike Jonze as creative director, it’s no surprise. The Sunday Times, which ran an interesting piece on VBS, revealed what a massive revenue driver it is for the Group and not just a cool kid vanity project. With VBS launching in 2007, it netted $1m from its first year alone, with projected revenues of $64m for 2009.
In their own words: VBS is the future of all media!