T-Mobile & Pink Murder Hey Jude

Every so often I get emails from a company that gives brands access to bloggers who might want to write about their ads; in return the bloggers can receive payments for views/clicks. Normally I don’t pay much attention to these, but for the new T-Mobile ad I thought I’d make an exception.

Following on from their hugely successful flash-mob dance in Liverpool Street station, the latest in the Life’s For Sharing series saw a huge karaoke party organised in Trafalgar Square, with Pink leading the crowds. The ad was filmed last Thursday (30th April) and then shown in full during the ad break for Britain’s Got Talent on the Saturday (May 2nd): ironically for an ad that was obviously made with YouTube inspired viral success in mind, Britain’s Got Talent is of course where the ultimate YouTube phenomenon, Susan Boyle, was first seen. Even more ironically, neither ITV nor YouTube seem to be able to make a penny off of the success of Boyle.

Whilst the T-Mobile Trafalgar Square karaoke is currently #2 on the viral video chart (compiled by the company that emailed me about the ad), it still lags far behind Boyle, whilst the original Liverpool Street flash-mob is still #13. I realise that it’s only been out a couple of days, and that it will undoubtedly continue to pile up views, but I don’t think it will be as successful as its predecessor*. There are a couple of reasons why I think this which can be summarised as:

  • Lightning doesn’t (often) strike twice. In many ways these T-Mobile ads are in the same vein as the ads that Fallon has become famous for creating for brands such as Cadburys & Sony. However, if you look at the Fallon ads, whilst they have had a large number of successes, they’ve also had quite a few which didn’t do so well. I’m thinking Foam & Bunnies for Sony whilst Runway for Cadburys never really took off (sorry!) Just because people really took to something once, doesn’t mean that essentially remaking a different version of the ad will have the same effect (we discovered this with the follow up to Do The Test).
  • Karaoke sucks. Listening to one person murder Hey Jude in a karaoke bar is normally bearable because you know the person singing and so can laugh/you’re drunk. Listening to 2,000 people you don’t know murdering one of the most over-played songs of all time, whilst sober, is not an experience that I’d wish for. And certainly not one I’d look to repeat. Watching people dance is, in contrast, lovely.

That said, I like the idea behind the ad and hope that it does well as T-Mobile, and their agency Saatchi & Saatchi, deserve to be rewarded for their bravery**. But hopefully they won’t mind if I wish them luck whilst turning down the volume on the Mac and reaching for the The Blue Album.

*I’m almost always wrong about these things, so expect the karaoke ad to go on to be the most succesful commercial in YouTube history.

**I know that other people were doing flash-mob stuff before T-Mobile came up with the idea (hell, we considered it for a pitch). But talent imitates & genius steals.

Trafalgar Square image by Alan Light on flickr

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