learning from improv

I'm not sure how many of you have heard of Improv Everywhere, but if you have not they are an organization that creates public scenes wherein "actors" stage a coordinated event. For instance, they have coordinated missions where actors all take the train wearing no pants or listen to the same MP3 at the exact same time and act out a scene. Well, this "mission" (as they call them) caught my attention.

Frozen Grand Central from ImprovEverywhere on Vimeo.

It caught my attention because it was well executed and unique, but also because I think there are some lessons here that advertisers can learn from:

  1. The element of surprise is powerful. This "mission" surprised folks and took them out of their normal routine. Thus, acting as a powerful catalyst of conversation.
  2. The execution was simple and coordinated, but not controlled. All the "actors" were essentially doing the same thing, but not in the same way. The coordinators didn't tell them all to do the same thing, only to pause, which made this more believable and unique.
  3. It taps into a counter-trend. Grand Central Station is about fast movement. No one stops in Grand Central. It's not a place where people hang out. That's why this was so noticeable.
  4. It taps into a movement. This isn't just about doing a "mission". It's about helping people see the world afresh. To wake up. To not get caught in the monotony. That's why people applauded when it was finished and that's why so many people have viewed it online already.
Those are just a few lessons that we as advertisers should think about. Learning from Improv is not new in advertising, but I thought this was worth analyzing to start a conversation. Tell me what you think.


Kristy said...

I love it! I love how they not only capture the stunt on the video but the reactions. I also love how differently people react and with such urgency - can you believe the guy that jabs that girl near the beginning? I love how that is so different from the fear and the invisible barrier most other created between them. It's a great case study - you are so right, advertisiers could learn so much from this.

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