Video: PR stunt at Vancouver International Airport was no flash mob
Is a flash mob still a flash mob when it has corporate sponsorship?
The latest example of such a purported flash mob “broke out” over the weekend at the Vancouver International Airport.
It featured the local band Abandon Paris playing an almost-unrecognizable rendition of “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” and dancers from the Arts Umbrella Dance Company doing their thing in the check-in area.
Did I mention that Tetrahedron Event Filming was on hand to record the event and post a video on YouTube so it could go “viral”?
The video of “Operation Snowflake”—viewed over 33,000 times—concludes with the logo of Air Canada, which sponsored the event.
It’s being called a “flash mob” in a variety of media.
Wikipedia—always a reliable source—defines a flash mob as “a large group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual act for a brief time, then disperse”.
“The term is generally not applied to events organized by public relations firms, protests, and publicity stunts,” Wikipedia’s article on the subject stated at time of writing.
So, why don't we just call Air Canada’s “flash mob”—like we would a "protest" sponsored by a multinational corporation—what it was?
A public-relations stunt or, to be charitable, a performance.
Because it sure wasn't a flash mob.
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