Memes, Mind Share and Minimizing Public Space

Enjoy watching this wonderful video, before reading why I absolutely hate it:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vq6b9bMBXpg

Now I’ll do the unthinkable and quote myself:

The war over mind share rages on and in the very near future it would be impossible to leave your home without stumbling into an advertisement, and most of the time you won’t even know you’re in one.
 
   – – Shahar Golan, January 18, 2009

We are living in the age of ├╝ber-fast memes, where an idea in the real world can be documented and uploaded to YouTube, watched anywhere around the world, and ‘downloaded’ back to the real world in another country. The following timeline is just one example of how this ‘cultural virus’ can spread:

January 2008
Improv Everywhere does Frozen Grand Central.
February 2008
The original stunt is duplicated all over the globe. A world map of copycats is soon enough posted for easier tracking.
March 2008
Improv Everywhere performs an original musical stunt titled Food Court Musical in front of a small shopping mall audience.
April 2008
Television’s Law & Order: SVU incorporates a fictionalized Frozen Grand Central into an episode. Actor Robin Williams plays a fictional Charlie Todd.
January 2009
T-Mobile executes a ‘Thawed’ Frozen Grand Central, mixing the Food Court Musical stunt into it and rebranding it as The T-Mobile Dance. The video is the first successful commercialized version of the stunt.
March 2009
VTM, a Belgian television station executes a Sound-of-Music T-Mobile dance.

And the dance will continue…

The fact that Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music is one of my favourite musicals is irrelevant. For all I care Julie Andrews could have danced right there on Antwerp’s Central Station, holding hands with the entire Von Trapp family – it still would not change the fact that we are losing the war over mind share and over public spaces.

The 3D hologram shark ad that startles Marty McFly in Back to the Future’s 2015? The ads that personally address John Anderton in Minority Report’s 2054? Why wait for hi-tech advertising, when you can get stuck in a real world commercial today? Just try and catch a train in Antwerp, New York or Tel-Aviv in the near future.

Oh… and if you’re thinking of avoiding the train all together by driving to work, better think again: KFC logos will soon be sprayed all over the road.

You can read more on this subject in Kalle Lasn’s excellent book Culture Jam: How to Reverse America’s Suicidal Consumer Binge – And Why We Must.

 

P.S.
Yes, I do realize that by blogging about it I add to the hype needed to perpetuate this phenomenon – but just like people printing books about the dwindling rainforests, there is just no other way of stopping this.