Australia’s ten shittest branded flash mobs

There’s now little in marketing less inspired than a dance flash mob. Be it in Rundle Mall, Adelaide, Federation Square in Melbourne, Queen Street Mall in Brisbane, Sydney’s Martin Place or a grim suburban strip mall, marketing companies are rinsing gullible clients for dollars on the promise the video will go viral.

And some big names – the likes of BMW, Dell, Qantas, Milo, Domino’s and Wii – are among those turning brand gold to shit.

One look at the grim faces of those who happened to be nearby when the experiential marketing project broke out is all that is needed to understand why this is a marketing trend that is D.E.A.D.

I humbly offer you my top ten shittest Australian branded flash mobs of all time:


The customers couldn't make it

Brand: Game/ Wii

Where: Paramatta Game Store

When: December 2009

The lowdown: The YouTube upload description offers an insight into how they wished it had turned out: “Check out this flashmob… It was insane! The whole store just broke into dance… playing the Wii video game Just Dance.” Yeah, right.

Views: 45,552


Just the reaction they hoped for

Brand/ cause: Qantas new route

Where: Sydney Airport

When: June, 2011

The lowdown: Fair to say that the stunt to publicise the Sydney to Perth route didn’t captivate the crowd, even if the cupcakes that followed did.

Views: 4,847



Unbridled enthusiasm

Brand/ cause: Bondi Pizza opening

Where: Bondi Pizza

When: August, 2011

The lowdown: A roomful of people calculating how long before they can go back to their drinks

Views: 62


The crowd goes wild

Brand/ cause: Climate change awareness

Where: Sydney Opera House

When: July 2009

The lowdown: And who exactly were they making aware of climate change?

Views: 123,407



The audience couldn't make it

Brand/ cause: Australian Services Union/ Fair Pay

Where: Victorian State Parliament

When: May 2011

The lowdown: An excellent example of guerrilla marketing in a vacuum

Views: 1879



Inexplicably, it didn't go viral

Brand/ cause: Dell Streak mobile phone

Where: Circular Quay, Sydney

When: September 2010

The lowdown: If the brand values encapsulate low interest and low production values then this certainly did the job

Views: 792



Pulling a crowd

Brand/ cause: Power Bar

Where: Martin Place, Sydney

When: July 2010

The lowdown: Don’t pick a rainy day to do a flashmob. Otherwise the dancers will outnumber the audience

Views: 1.231



At least she enjoyed it (every time)

Brand/ cause: BMW X3

Where: Sylvania BMW

When: March 2011

The lowdown: Another over-excited YouTube description: “VIP guests at Sylvania BMW’s X3 Launch were taken by surprise when a team of dancers burst into their cocktail party with a rendition from “Grease!” Anyone else suspicious that the video editor has had to replay footage of the same blonde woman laughing uproariously in four different places?

Views: 12.932



Lucikly, a TV camera was on hand

Brand/ cause: Milo

Where: The Gabba, Brisbane

When: November 2010

The lowdown: Choreographed Ashes flash mobs at their least spontaneous

Views: 19,152



The joy of spontaneity

Brand/ cause: Domino’s Pizza

Where: Westfield shopping centre, Brisbane

When: July 2011

The lowdown: In an unfortunate mix up with the word “unoriginal”, in the press release to announce the marketing stunt, Domino’s described it as “unique”.

Views: 5,780


Tim Burrowes


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