Flying Flash Mob
Client: Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance
Brief: Promote a new fundraising scheme
We were approached by Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance to help them launch a new fundraising scheme.
After an initial meeting with their Director of Communications, our producer Ali set about choosing songs for the original edit. Using the theme of helicopters and being rescued, she chose a range of genres including the Casualty soundtrack, Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines and of course Aretha Franklin’s Rescue Me.
The song selection was then passed to our music editor, Hannah who mixed them into a clever storyline covering the client’s themes.
Next the music edit was passed to one of our choreographers, Lucinda. She developed a fantastic routine that was both visually appealing (at one point the dancers became a human ambulance) and easy to learn (by matching the moves to the storyline).
One of our camera operators filmed Lucinda doing the routine so dancers could start learning it prior to rehearsals if they wanted. It also meant those who couldn’t attend rehearsals, could still do the flash mob.
Around thirty dancers of mixed abilities took part in rehearsals on the morning of the flash mob. Lucinda taught the routine with enthusiasm and energy that rubbed off on everyone! We had staff from KS&S Air Ambulance, regular Brighton Dance Flash Mobbers and lots of new people who heard about the event via social networks or friends. Our flash mobs often comprise volunteers who find out about our organisation, are informed of the rehearsal details and then simply learn the routine and are then briefed last minute on where the flash mobs will be! Flash mobbing appears on many bucket lists and we enjoy providing the opportunity.
As usual the atmosphere was a heady mix of excitement and anticipation. At rehearsals we also handed out free t-shirts to the dancers. We then headed independently to Churchill Square shopping centre and blended into the background. We acted casual while waiting for our cue – the start of the music and Lucinda running onto the piazza and starting the routine.
Within minutes a crowd began to gather, while gradually all the flash mobbers joined in. KS&S Air Ambulance had a stall nearby with a large branded bear handing out leaflets – when the bear joined in a cheer went up from onlookers!
Then as suddenly as it started, the flash mob was over and the dancers walked off as if nothing happened. The crowd cheered and asked for more! Many wandered over to the stall and offered their congratulations.
During the flash mob four of our film crew (Georgia, Kostas, Janice and Ali) and Hannah our event photographer captured the event. Within days, our film editor produced a video that matched the style of the event. This film is for KS&S Air Ambulance to use on their website and social media.
“Having just launched a new regular giving scheme to raise funds for the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance, we wanted a high profile event to announce the scheme. Brighton Dance Flash Mobs choreographed an amazing routine outside the Churchill Centre in Brighton which helped to raise the profile of the charity and the campaign. The dance routine attracted a large audience who despite the very wet conditions stopped shopping to watch. It was a great way to launch the scheme and I was very impressed with the skill, professionalism and enthusiasm of the team. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them.” Jill Playle, Director of Communications, Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance
Road Safety Flash Mob
Client: Brighton & Hove City Council
Brief: Educate young people on pedestrian road safety
Brighton & Hove City Council’s Road Safety Team asked us to help raise awareness of pedestrian road safety in the darker months, with a focus on educating children and young adults. The call went out to local schools as well as via our usual social networks. We have over 800 dancers linked to our organisation, from Brighton, London and beyond.
We divulge the rehearsal location in advance, but only reveal the flash mob locations verbally at rehearsals. We may rehearse several times in advance of the flash mob day and produce a step-by-step training video with a legendary comedy voiceover by Kate, our voiceover artiste. Or we often rehearse and flash mob on the same day, as with the Road Safety Flash Mob. In this case, we ensure rehearsals are within walking distance of the flash mobs.
After meeting with Matthew Thompson from the Road Safety Team, we started planning how to present the messages. Our flash mobs follow a traditional model in that we create an original music edit. Hannah ensures the mood and themes required by the client are covered. This often means blending a random mix of popular songs with obscure ones! This flash mob was no exception.
Once the music edit was done, Natalie our choreographer put together a fantastic routine that highlighted the themes of the initiative. We added in BSL to make it more accessible. Rehearsals often comprise a mix of ages, backgrounds and dance experience and Natalie ensures everyone takes part to the best of their ability, feels fully included and has fun.
Because our event was at night and because of the flash mob message, we knew dancer visibility was paramount. The fourty flash mobbers were asked to wear fluorescent clothing and the Theatre Royal sponsored bright yellow t-shirts for the dancers. Matthew also brought fluorescent stickers and bicycle safety lights and everyone enjoyed adapting their clothes in creative and eye-catching ways!
White Night is a regular event on the Brighton Calendar. It is a combination of arts festival, street theatre and outdoor party. Therefore we carefully chose the locations to fit in with the many other events going on.
Our first flash mob was in Jubilee Square. White Night installed a production team into the library overlooking the square and projected live happenings from around the city onto a white cube sculpture. Therefore, not only were we kicking off our event in the White Night nerve centre, the footage was streamed live above our heads simultaneously!
Next we moved to Churchill Square piazza. This is one of the locations we get asked to flash mob the most. We had a fabulously large, safe space to show off the routine.
For our third location, we chose a section of The Level transformed into a performance arena. Having carefully timed it to happen between acts on the main stage, our flash mob suddenly emerged from the milling throng of teenagers, families and adults enjoying the evening.
At each location we had bystanders wanting to talk to us afterwards about the initiative.
Our film crew, Jon and Ali captured the three flash mobs and swiftly sent the footage to our film editor Anina, who put it together in record time. We pride ourselves in a 48-hour turnaround.
The video is currently being used as a teaching resource in Sussex schools.
“Brighton Dance Flash mobs turned our important but all too easy to ignore autumn campaign messages about pedestrian safety and visibility in the winter months into an attention grabbing event that was hugely entertaining and fun to take part in and to watch. The well-oiled BDFM machine took all the hassle out of planning the event, and the choreographer Natalie West worked miracles with even the rustiest road safety officer’s dance moves. BDFM regulars danced up a storm and ensured a successful performance. Thanks again for a brilliant evening.” Matthew Thompson, Project Officer, Road Safety Team, Brighton & Hove City Council
Seafront Flash Mob
Client: Cambridge University Press
Brief: Advertise a new course book
We love a challenge and when Cambridge University Press asked us to produce a moving flash mob we jumped at the chance! They wanted help promoting a new course book at a large conference for teachers at the Brighton Centre. We discussed with their marketing team the idea of using a flash mob to lure people into the conference by dancing along Brighton promenade. We then flash mobbed inside the venue to scoop up spectators and guide them to Cambridge University Press’s stand.
Even though a flash mob is over in a flash, a great deal of planning goes into making it look and feel spontaneous. Not least of all how to play the music. Over the years we have developed great relationships with a multitude of venues, outside spaces and PA hire companies.
We also take health and safety very seriously. As well as providing marshals to oversee the performance spaces, we give a verbal and written safety brief to all dancers and provide our own public liability insurance. We have become adept at completing the most in-depth risk assessment documentation, because although the general public have no clue what is about to happen, we always seek prior permission for each flash mob location.
For the Seafront Flash Mob we rehearsed a week before and provided a training video for people to practice in their own time.
On the day, the sun was out, the promenade was bustling and all flash mobbers wore orange and green, the colours of the course book which meant maximum impact. We even had members of the public joining in, as we led them to the Brighton Centre. Once inside, our flash mob generated curiosity, interest and excitement. The writer of the book was so overwhelmed she shed a tear (of joy, we might add!)
Although a flash mob is over in a flash, there are a host of individuals involved including,
Producer, Music Editor, Choreographer, Dance Tutor, Professional Lead Dancers, Stage Manager, Marshalls, Film Crew, Film Editor, Social Media Team, Event Photographer.
Many of the team work below industry standard rates and we constantly seek ways to put on a professional event while combatting these times of austerity. In this instance, BrightonandHoveJobs.com were currently supporting us for six months’ worth of flash mobs. They were keen to support us, as a small organisation with its roots within the community, as well as supporting a range of local events and initiatives. They also received regular flash mob videos to share via their social media sites.
The Seafront Flash Mob along with all our other routines, remains a favourite and can be used by anyone who feels it is right for their venture.
“Working with Brighton Dance Flash Mobs helped us put across our message to the customers and people passing by our stand at the Conference in a very positive and up-beat way. We would, no doubt, work with such an effective, creative and hard-working team again!” Alana Laguna, Associate Marketing Executive, ELT, Cambridge University Press
“Brighton and Hove is the most amazing place, especially on a summer’s day. With the sun shining the Brighton flash mob took to the seafront and danced along the promenade. The day was great fun and an all-round great success – team members from BrightonandHoveJobs.com even joined in to dance the day away. Holiday makers on the beach came up to introduce themselves and to find out more about us. Natalie West is a professional and fabulous choreographer – we would recommend this idea for any business who is looking to advertise themselves in a unique way.” Charlene Brown, Business Manager, LoveLocalJobs.com