Music and pranks

On 23rd March 2009, the commuters in Belgium’s Grand Central metro station suddenly got to hear Julie Andrews “Do Re Mi” on the announcement system. Soon it broke out into something they will remember for their lives.

A musical prank played by VTM – a 200 strong flash mob dance stunt to announce their newest reality television program “Op zoek naar Maria”. The idea was to search for an actress who would play the leading role in the The Sound of Music. See the video below to know what happen. Be prepared to be enthralled.

Earlier this year in January, T-Mobile in the UK launched an advertising campaign that had a similar flash mob dancing in London’s Liverpool Street Station. 350 dancers made the day for commuters passing through the railway station. That was an advertising campaign aired on TV later in the same month.

I am not anyone’s idea of a good dancer, but there is something about well choreographed dances that just make you feel GOOD. Real good.

On a related note, it’s not news to anyone that I absolutely love pranks. I love pranks made on public like the above few examples – not the ones that are for slapstick fun though. I am talking of those that deliver a tiny message – take a deep breath, and appreciate what’s around you. A while ago, I wrote about Prangstgrup, a group based in Columbia University that did simply amazing things – a musical in the middle of a lecture, in a library, teaching architecture to absolute strangers in the metro – 17 masterpieces since I checked!

Have you seen the one where about 200 people in the Grand Central subway, New York just froze in their steps? Or when in a book store, about 60 cellphones in bags outside the store started to ring simultaneously? Surprise a random couple who just got married in the city hall with a complete wedding reception? Visit Improv Everywhere and you will be surprised at the things they have done. 🙂

Early in 2007, the Washington Post decided to conduct an experiment. A man dressed ordinarily in jeans, t-shirt and a baseball cap took out his violin and played music on a street during the morning rush hour. He played six classical pieces in 43 minutes, and a total of 1097 people crossed him at that time. 7 people stopped what they were doing to listen to him for a minute. A total of 27 people dropped in change amounting to a total of $32 or so. The rest 1070 people were too busy to pay attention. Probably irritated with poor people who present an unbecoming look to them every morning. This nondescript fiddler was Joshua Bell, who is a child prodigy when it comes to playing the violin. People pay hundreds of dollars to see him play at concerts. A man who earns $1,000 a minute. Why does beauty such as this need to be set up for us to appreciate it? [Source]

Edited to add: Bollywood Heroes did a similar thing to promote their own show. Last week on August 4th, 2009, dozens of Bollywood dancers suddenly began to dance in the middle of Times Square, New York. Nice low budget advertising, I would say. Oh and I ABSOLUTELY ADORE the girl in the yellow dress! Via Indiequill