When I first saw the T-Mobile Welcome Home ad I asked the question that seems to be reverberating around adland. Has flash mobbing and crowd participation jumped the shark?
Certainly anyone who watched the E4 sting from last week would find it hard to argue that the 'slick polished performer' singing and dancing style of flash-mobbing that T-Mobile originated in ad terms has gone beyond parody, that piece of work killed stone dead any credibility a brand could have in doing that kind of ad.
However, I'm glad to say that the new T-Mobile ad has managed to avoid jumping the shark. It may be getting ready to jump, but this ad had enough in it, and was sufficiently thought out that it still felt quite original (In UK terms, SNCF did very similar things in France), and kept me engaged. There was a nice choice of tracks and it felt much less cheesy and contrived than I would have expected for a 3 minute (Yes, THREE minutes!) ad in this kind of campaign. The performers felt more natural and less overtly polished, like real people getting together instead of a clearly hand picked group of dancers.
I think the big question for T-Mobile is where to go now. By time the next campaign comes around, will it be too late to flash mob? Happily though, I think their strategy has the potential to keep moving and evolving, there are plenty of ways to share in life without 200 people descending on an airport/train station/shopping centre/bus stop/cafe/public toilet (delete as appropriate).