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BizReport : Viral Marketing : January 26, 2009

T-Mobile harnesses buzz, WOM and viral for TV Ad campaign

In a crowded British rail station, T-Mobile demonstrated the power of the people as it created a buzz that reverberated around the web, across mobile networks and through television screens.

by Helen Leggatt

At 11am on Thursday, 15 January, 2009, in a busy London rail station, something unexpected happened. Music began to play over the loudspeakers. Someone began to dance. The beat changed and 'by-passers' joined in. As the now-viral video of the event shows, it's not long before the entire platform is rocking.

Evolving in front of the surprised crowds of rail travelers was a flash-mob dance-off courtesy of T-Mobile, involving over 350 dancers (and, I should add, the co-operation of the rail station). I don't know about you, but the resulting video left me with a real 'feel good' feeling and goose-bumps which, judging from footage of audience feedback, and the 4,500 or so comments on YouTube, was a common reaction.

And that's the key.

What T-Mobile has done is provide a memorable and emotional event, both key drivers of viral, underpinned with a positive strap-line of sharing. The spontaneity and feel good factor, in a location perhaps not always associated with such attributes, spawned a viral video (almost 1.5 million views in under a fortnight), immeasurable mobile phone viral content, an online community via YouTube and a buzz event that has people talking around the Internet.

"T-Mobile has a strong history of innovation when it comes to product development and customer service, but now with this campaign, we're making an even bolder statement about the power of sharing, so everyone knows what T-Mobile uniquely stands for," said Lysa Hardy, head of brand and communication at T-Mobile.

T-Mobile has complemented the main video with some behind the scenes and audience reaction footage, along with a dedicated YouTube channel in which they encourage user-generated content of the same ilk.

To top it all, less that 48 hours after the live filming of 'Dance', created by Saatchi & Saatchi London, it was on air in its entirety during the airing of Big Brother. Sixty-second versions were scheduled to air for a further two weeks.

"Across the whole campaign we've looked for ways to really engage with people through the notion of 'Life's for Sharing'," said Saatchi & Saatchi Creative Partner, Kate Stanners. "We hope that 'Dance' will connect with people in a bold and dynamic way, inspiring them to create and share their own memorable moments."

Tags: buzz, flash-mob, mobile phone, Saatch & Saatchi, T-Mobile, television ad, viral, word of mouth

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