Not all great online content begins online – after all, what is a flash mob but a bunch of people dancing to music only they can hear in the middle of Waterloo Station? Put cans of Tennent’s Super in their hands and they would be moved on by the police. Yet by advertising for participants, then filming and posting the events online, the organisers have used the dancers to increase awareness of a range of political, creative and commercial causes.
With flash mobs being a bit 2005, the latest bit of offline theatre designed to be transmitted to the world online is the ‘This is What a Feminist Looks Like’ T-shirt. It was sported this week by Labour MP Harriet Harman at Prime Minister’s Questions to draw attention to the fact that David Cameron had declined invitations from Elle Magazine to have his picture taken in the garment. Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg have both said yes, along with famous actors including Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hiddleston.
While we don’t know the Prime Minister’s exact reasons for saying no (it is not a very nice T-shirt so maybe Sam Cam vetoed it on the grounds of aesthetics), acres of content have been generated by his decision. Putting the leader of the country over a barrel in this way was a really clever move by Elle, and ensured plenty of coverage for their first “feminist” issue.
How can you use this kind of content generation to generate publicity and sales for your organisation? First, you don’t need to come up with a clever slogan – the feminist T-shirt was apparently first brought out by women’s rights organisation The Fawcett Society eight years ago. But you do need to think visually – what would make readers and passers-by look again if people wore or ate or listened to your message in public? What if a particular person or kind of person wore, ate or listened to it?
You may need to kick-start interest on social media with your own posts and tweets, but if the images are interesting enough to share, the internet will then take over.