October 18, 2017

Helping PR pros make smarter decisions

The Station is Alive with the Sound of Music

The Station is Alive with the Sound of Music

There’s nothing quite like an old time musical. Conveying a sense of excitement in song, captivating us with a more fun quasi-reality. Musicals–like The Sound of Music, Anything Goes or The Music Man–have shaped our ideas about who we are, our cultural identity. We love the dancing, the singing, the impracticality… And then one day in a train station in Belgium, it all comes true.

More than 200 people performed “Do Re Mi” in Antwerp’s Central Station (link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0UE3CNu_rtY). The flash mob filled the station with song and choreography as a promotional stunt for a Belgian reality TV show “Looking for Maria.”

It’s no surprise the video went viral. Within a month of its posting on YouTube, the video had received around 1.5 million views. Today, eight weeks after its YouTube debut, the four-minute clip is well over 3.6 million views.

Reality TV

Why is this viral special? It’s a video of a reality TV show turning TV into reality.

Old time musicals require a great suspension of disbelief. Aside from the often improbably happy ending to the plot’s mountain-road twists and turns, the audience is asked to believe people resolve arguments, begin and end relationships, with a two step and a song. Real like people don’t erupt into song on a first date at Uno’s, right?

This little video clip gives us hope. It’s magical. If 200 people can turn a train station into a musical, you can get through one more day of your tired job because maybe something wonderful will happen. Well, that’s the idea anyway.

The comments reveal that viewers are in fact coming back, again and again. Some say it brightens their day, others say it makes them nostalgic. Having a reminder of your youth is inspiring–there’s a sense of excitement about your surroundings, that it harbors secrets you must discover and explore.

But beyond that excitement, familiarity is comforting. In the Globe’s Ideas Section Sunday, Ty Burr examines this summer’s prequels, positing that the new X-Men, Star Trek and Terminator flicks are “cultural comfort food” that both the studios and the audiences find reassuring in these current economic times. Similarly, the choice to “look for Maria” and to recreate a well known musical flavor in modern day life adds a new dynamic to what is already comfortable.

Lesson Learned

A song and dance is great. But how will you make it relevant to your business and your clients?

Consumers are looking for comfort. Breathe life into a familiar brand by reminding your users why they loved you to begin with. Old style brand images alone may take people back. Inspiration with a touch of familiarity goes a long way, and new companies, concepts or products have the opportunity to take people to back to that period of life where the world seems so big, open, ready to be discovered.

We’re all hoping for a little magic, a spark of creativity, excitement or wonder. Make us sing in our cubicles.

Sandy Kalik is a social media aficionado and general manager of Media Awaken. By day, she advises startups, non-profits and socially responsible companies on the practice of social media, by night she dabbles in retail, web design, and yoga instruction. She blogs at Sandying (http://sandying.blogspot.com), tweets @skalik and can be reached by email at sandy.kalik (at) yahoo.com.

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