A flash mob is a group of people meeting in a public space and performing to put a point across to bystanders and entertain them. They are a recent activity however, they have become immensely popular in recent years. YouTube has really helped propel Flash Mobbing into a popular event with millions of people recognising one.
Our challenge this week was to perform one of our own.
Improveverywhere were probably the first high profile flash mob group that appeared on the internet.
In our group we had two main ideas which stemmed from these:
So our group looked into several ideas and we narrowed them down to our 4 main ideas, of which one we would be taking forward and doing,
1. Wow – This idea came from people conforming to being like sheep and following a crowd despite not knowing what was going on. We would lay a piece of paper with WOW written on it on the ground in a public space, take photos of it and try and draw in the public in hope that they would want to know what the big fuss was about. We thought about pointing out to people how likely they are to act like a sheep by writing on the paper “and you thought you were independent!”.
2. Human Snake –This literally consisted of making a conga line and seeing if we could get random people to join by pretending to be bystanders and joining in ourselves. It would have been great but we thought about a H&S risk that prevented the go ahead.
3. The Theme Song – We would sing, hum, whistle famous theme songs in a public space and then more of the group would join in in hope that people around us would too.
4. Ikea – In “500 Days of Summer”, the lead actors act out their lives as if they were living in Ikea. We would pretend to be in a situation depending on which show room we were in; people in the kitchen would pretend to cook whilst in the living room they would shout at the TV not working etc.
We narrowed this down to two:
– Perform in Ikea or
– Sing easily recognisable tunes in public spaces.
We went for the latter and practiced humming and whistling to try and put together a medley of famous tunes people could join into. These consisted of the Great Escape, Aadams Family and the Pink Panther themes. We would hit the Uni Libary, Students Union, Town Square and our own Ellen Terry building. It would have gone greatly but there was a lack of people being able to keep rhythm, pace and in tune. It started to go badly and with a deadline drawing ever nearer, we decided to scrap this plan and fall back on the Ikea idea.
We plotted to hit Ikea on the same floor but in different locations around the store. We would be in groups of 4 or 5 with one person nearby filming the action. The next step was getting to Ikea. We went down in groups but entered the store separately. A couple of group members would find a location and then we would find them and start. There was also a couple of the whole group knocking about who were there to try and get people involved asking them what was going on.
My group hit the bedroom. Jess and I stripped down to pyjamas and got into a bed. Jack hid in a wardrobe and Adina hit in the bathroom with a robe over her. James was filming us and waved to start when a few people were nearby. Jess and I talked loudly which drew bystanders attention. At this point Adina raced into the room screaming at me for having an affair. I leapt out of bed and argued back. This attracted a lot of attention from the staff on the floor. As they came over, Jack jumped out the wardrobe and slipped into bed with Jess. Adina and my argument blew way over the top and she was hysterical slapping me in the face while I pleaded my innocence. As the Ikea staff started to shout at us and ask us what was going on we looked at them and drew them into the argument asking them what they were doing in our home and who did they think they were walking into our bedroom. They didn’t seem impressed and escorted us out the building. As soon as the commotion with us had died down, the other two groups started to kick off. They were given a similar treatment but with a faster response.
We thought we had been really effective in flash mobbing but we were made to feel by the staff that we were more of a nuisance. As we returned to HQ, we realised that some members of our group had just taken it too far, stripping in the shower for example. A bit out of order even though some of our stunts were risqué.
In reflection, it is amazing how quickly we could get organised and put into effect a plan and get people involved. Maybe a little more time and deliberation and make sure people know EXACTLY what to do (and what not) and we could re-create something more spectacular.