Fabulous Fake Flash Mobs in Dubai.
Over the Eid break there was one video being shared on every forsaken Facebook Wall, tweeted from every Tweeter in town and forwarded by the few that still prefer email for online communication--you know what we are talking about, the darned 'flash' mob at the Dubai Airport. As if it wasn't enough, the video was always accompanied with some silly sentimental comment like "Only in Dubai" or "Gotta love Dubai."
If you were living under a rock (we wish for a similar fate if it meant we'd miss this over-shared video) here is the video:
Pretty great routine, huh? In fact, only a professional dancer could attempt to pull off some of those pirouettes. But that is precisely the problem! To hire professional dancers to stage a 'flash mob' to promote your brand is to do violence to the very concept of the flash mobs.
A relatively recent phenomenon (ancient by viral standards but still new for the rest of the world), the 'flash mob' uses social media to involve members of the community interested in randomly and spontaneously staging a simple but coordinated dance. The dance moves are often made available ahead of time on a video, with the details about the place and time of the flash mob being disseminated covertly through social media. Of course, occasionally--and the key term here is 'occasionally'--companies will sponsor a flash mob, but essentially flash mobs do not have a corporate agenda.
That Dubai Airport chose to promote its new DXB Connect Card (a pre-paid card for airport passengers) through a "flash mob" isn't quite our objection. It is the sentiment with which so many are heralding it to be the marker that flash mob fever has finally caught on Dubai, is what gets under our skin. It is the notion that nothing communal could ever happen in Dubai without a giant sanction from a sponsor. It is the acceptance of the complete and total commercialisation of life here in Dubai.
And though we'd say otherwise, not everyone feels the same. As Gulf News pointed out, one particular YouTube commenter posted the following:"Fantastic! In a world with so much sadness, this puts a lot of smiles on a lot of faces." Now, we're not saying this is true but we wouldn't be surprised if this commenter is employed by Dubai Airport or at the very least, the company that does its PR.
Oh, and how about this comment from one Emil Abraham Mathew who subtly commented on the aforementioned Gulf News article with the following: "This Really must have took the Passengers by Surprise. Hope to see Performances like this in the Future. The Video Posted is Spreading Like Wildfire !. Will help to Enhance Dubai Airports Image as a Passenger Friendly Airport and as an Entertainment Hub."
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