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Meme spreading at a baseball game

May 5, 2007

Everyone these days is talking about viral marketing and memes, but it’s often a tough concept to grasp, it appears so intangible.

So here’s a great real world example for you.

Improv Everywhere are a NYC performance group who are all about doing great stunts (100s of blue shirts invade Best Buys, when U2 comes to NYC they staged their own rooftop concert with a U2 look-a-like and sound-a-like band, etc).

Its latest exploit was to “Punk’d” Yankee Stadium in the middle of a baseball game.

One of its “agents” spent several innings pretending to be unable and incapable of finding his seat. It started when he tried to return to his seat after visiting a concession stand and despite the shouts of “Rob” from his friends, he couldn’t find it.

The Rob virus quickly spread throughout the stadium with hillarious results.

A full account can be found here.

It really shows how interesting ideas can spread quickly.

Apparently, all it takes is one dumb guy at a baseball game.

Here are six reasons why it works.

1. The crowd is connected- in a physically confined space and they are all Yankee fans- which allows the idea to spread quickly
2. There is lots of attention on the crowd because of the numerous breaks in the game-people are often looking around the crowd as well as the field-so they are looking for something to catch their attention that might have talk value for the person they are watching the game with
3. Someone lights the fuse- friends start the story- they set up the character and the problem for the rest of the crowd
4. It becomes a storyline. Rob has become a character with a dilemma
5. It’s interactive- it’s become a game-help Rob find his seat- people naturally want to help
6. There’s also mystery.Why is he doing this?- the expected reasons are  because he is stupid and/or drunk- which are amusing topics for baseball fans

Via Wonderland

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