If I See One More Of Those Crowd-breaks-into-spontaneous-dance-routine Videos…

Posted on 13 September 2010

If I see one more of those crowd-breaks-into-spontaneous-dance-routine videos, I swear I’ll puke!

You know the kind I mean: the kind where a cute person is joined by two more then four more then eight more then lots more people in a fun, seemingly spontaneous public display of dancing.

The dance routines are clearly meant to LOOK as if they’re spontaneous, but they’re all obviously meticulously planned, choreographed, rehearsed and stage-managed. And all the videos are ads.

The first few such videos that I saw were fun and surprising. But now it seems like just about every company is copying the idea, so I no longer get that warm-fuzzy feeling from seeing them; I just feel manipulated. And I don’t like feeling manipulated.

I just saw one that starts with an impossibly cute little girl dancing by herself inside a room. Then she’s joined by more people in a perfectly synchronised dance routine, and the back wall of the room magically lifts up to reveal even more people dancing outside. About one minute into the video, I started feeling cynical, wondering “OK, what are they advertising?” My cynicism was justified: it was an ad for a Samsung mobile phone.

There was another one I saw a few months ago that showed lots of cute, talented children dancing in Union Square in San Francisco. Turns out the video was an ad for a line of kids’ clothing from H&M. (By the way, the choreography for that dance routine featured moves that were, in my opinion, sexually suggestive and ickily inappropriate.)

Then there’s this one for T-Mobile, filmed at Liverpool Street Station in London. (Check out this behind-the-scenes video about the making of that T-Mobile video.)

What especially annoys me is that a concept that used to be purely fun, innocent and non-commercial – public improvisation events in the style of flashmobs or Improv Everywhere – has been hijacked by commercial interests. So now I can’t trust ANY videos showing public displays of dancing.

What do you think?


2 responses to If I See One More Of Those Crowd-breaks-into-spontaneous-dance-routine Videos…

  • Roz Beste says:

    What is your take on the Israeli army soldiers dancing http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsoZ_HomRHc

    Maybe it is something trying to make them looks more cuddly and friendly but I actually think the whole thing was made by the soldiers for themselves for fun and the news report thing is just odd.

    • kay says:

      Thanks Roz, I hadn’t seen that one before. It looks a bit suss to me – what are the odds that all six soldiers in a random patrol happen to be reasonably good dancers? And how come there’s nobody else in the background of the scene? And who filmed their routine? And most importantly, for what purpose? There’s no corporate logo at the end of their dance routine.

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