Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A new "flash mob" by Wells Fargo

I've written about a few different performances from financial institutions before including from Innovations FCU and ING Direct Canada. Today, Wells Fargo posted their "flash mob" on YouTube. Over the last year, I've seen the feeling about these performances change. 

While there is a place for these public appearances, they aren't really flash mobs and trying to present them as such can come across in a negative way. For example, when I wrote about the ING Direct performance, I referred to it as a flash mob. They never referred to it as such and that's when I was schooled in the difference between a public performance vs. a flash mob.

Companies should be careful about usurping that term for their publicity stunts. It was one thing to call them that years ago, but now they should sell these for what they really are - public performances. It sounds fun to use the term "flash mob" but it is not authentic and disingenuous. 

What do you think? Here is the video:

Did I enjoy it? It was fun to watch, but rates near the bottom of similar videos I've seen. For example, it was better than the ING Direct Canada video mentioned above, but I enjoyed the Innovations FCU and some of the mall videos I've seen before much more. 

Interestingly, I didn't see any Wells Fargo references at the performance. It appears the promotional value was intended to only come from being a viral video promotion

The video is on the Wells Fargo YouTube channel and titled the "Wells Fargo Flash Mob -- Times Square", so they get recognition there. But, they went further at the 3:00 minute mark (if you made it that far - the video is a bit long) a Wells Fargo logo appears in the bottom right hand corner and remains through the rest of the video.

Overall, what are your thoughts? I'm not sure this video was good enough to have much reach. But, then again, I'm writing about it and spreading the word.


  1. The flash mob concept is no longer new. Before long, companies steal every good idea, commercialize them and then beat them to death!

    I thought this example was great. For Wells Fargo, it's a great way to give back to the community by putting some money in street performers wallets, smiles on visitors faces and celebrate NYC. Did they get any promotional value on the spot? Doesn't look like it but maybe there's more to it than we are seeing here. If the performers had Wells Fargo logos on their bright T-Shirts, would it feel too corporate or is it better left as a mystery to uncover on the Internet? I don't know.