You know how when you see an ad and it captivates you?  It’s so totally engaging you can’t take your eyes off it — you even tell other people about it?!

Yeah, I know, almost never happens to me, either.  🙂

But it did just happen to me with the latest T-Mobile flashmob “Life is for sharing” ad titled “Welcome Back.” It hit YouTube 10-29-10 and already has almost 3 million views.  It follows their previous ad “Dance,” which has over 29 million YouTube views.  And understand, these are VIEWS, events where people clicked on a video and actually WATCHED the video, or at least, a portion of the video. NOT an ESTIMATE of a number of households that had the TV on when the ad ran.

Here it is:

Public reaction to “Welcome Back.”

It’s worth your attention because:

It’s an ad that really isn’t an ad.

It engages on an emotional level that is ACTUALLY relevant to the product.  It celebrates a very human moment, a welcome back at an airport (we’ve all had at least one) and splashes some of that goodness on their product (Life’s for Sharing. . .share it on T-Mobile).  As opposed to cute frogs saying “Bud,” “Wei” “Zer.”

It uses a device (flashmob) that is native to its demographic (young).

It is genuinely unique and interesting.  And as a result, has created tons more awareness outside the YouTube views.  (They have, in fact, created some 30-second spots from it.)

So. . .what can we take from this?

My hope, first and foremost, is that this inspires you to. . .

Do.  Something.  Different.

Do something hard.  Clearly, it doesn’t have to involve 18 cameras, weeks of planning and rehearsing and tons of cash.  It takes being creative and thoughtful.

Surprise people.  Make sure it’s relevant to what you sell.  But stretch, really stretch.

. . .now I know, it’s okay, go back and watch it again.  Or watch its predecessors, “Dance” or “Sing A-long.” 

The making of “Dance.”