Flash mob planned for MU-KU game to attract Google

Friday, March 5, 2010 | 12:01 a.m. CST; updated 6:10 p.m. CST, Sunday, March 7, 2010

COLUMBIA — On Saturday, community members who wish to bring the Google fiber-optic broadband trial service to Columbia will participate in a flash mob at the MU-KU basketball game.

The game will be broadcast on CBS from 1 to 3 p.m. central time, and the flash mob will take place during the first time out of the second half of the game.


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A flash mob is when a group of people gather for a brief time to perform an activity, such as a sudden dance party.

“I think it’s going to demonstrate that Columbia’s got extreme deep grassroots,” organizer Scott Wendling said.

Flash mob participants will hold up signs carrying slogans to welcome Google to Columbia. A sign-making party will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday at the Academy of Fine Arts, 3210 S. Providence Road, and will be followed by an after party at Tropical Liqueurs at 3805 S. Providence Road.

Wendling said businesses have supported the event. Shakespeare’s Pizza will donate pizzas for the sign-making party, and Blue Ribbon Vending will donate soda. Boone County National Bank will also sponsor 15,000 printed signs, the turnout expected for the game.

In an effort to attract Google, Topeka, Kan., Mayor Bill Bunten changed the name of the city to Google, Kan., for the month of March.

“While Topeka can have one person sign something and change their name, this takes several thousand people to coordinate,” Wendling said.

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Dustin Dean March 5, 2010 | 8:25 a.m.

I don't think Wendling realizes that Topeka held a flash mob back on the 26th of February.

(Report Comment)
hank ottinger March 5, 2010 | 8:43 a.m.

Can a "flash mob" be announced ahead of time? I don't think so; it's intended to appear as a spontaneous event that takes non-participants by surprise, and often encourages participation by non-flash-mob types. Perhaps the most famous (or viewed) example is the T-Mobile commercial that was performed in a Liverpool railroad station.

(Report Comment)
Glenn Rice March 5, 2010 | 10:18 a.m.

Hank's right. This isn't a flash mob; it's just a bunch of people holding up signs at a predetermined moment, AKA a publicity stunt.

(Report Comment)
Scott Wendling March 5, 2010 | 10:49 a.m.

I'm aware of what Topeka considered a flashmob.

"More than one hundred people stripped down to their "Think Big Topeka" t-shirts" Not too impressive. 15,000>100 which is why we need everyone to get involved! #epic

You are right. In this instance this is a demonstration of the organization abilities of Columbia. We attempted to keep it a secret but it outgrew me. The local news is covering it right now but I highly doubt the nation is aware, and that is our target. There are still local people that are not aware yet that are going to the game so we will be promoting to get them involved up until the event.

(Report Comment)
Scott Wendling March 5, 2010 | 10:51 a.m.

You're right this is a publicity stunt. It's a publicity stunt for Columbia to get national attention in our efforts to attract Google Fiber to our community.

(Report Comment)
Glenn Rice March 5, 2010 | 11:14 a.m.

Scott, there's nothing wrong w/ publicity stunts. I was just pointing out that as describe, this event isn't a flash mob as it's normally understood.

(Report Comment)
Scott Wendling March 5, 2010 | 11:27 a.m.

I see you're point. Whatever we call it I'm certain it will bode well for Columbia.

(Report Comment)
Scott Wendling March 5, 2010 | 11:43 a.m.

The message we are sending to Google:

It's written in Google language.

(Report Comment)

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