We’ve all seen the bad ones: the over dramatic Lady Gaga ‘dance off’, the 200 strong Christmas carol sing-a-long in a shopping mall – even the staged ‘proposal’ in New York’s Central Park. It’s all been done before.

You won’t find those types here. This is a list reserved for the cream of the crop, the flash mobs that are both original and have garnered the attention of media around the world.   

So the next time your director of marketing proposes another ‘Britney Spears’ flash mob product launch, JUST SAY NO and refer them to this list of stellar examples. Of course, assuming that your product isn’t Britney’s latest CD.

Let me know in the comments section if I’ve missed any off the list.

1. Dare to fight a ninja

Dare to fight a ninja is brilliant. There’s no dancing, no music, none of the painful moments of boredom that are usually associated with a typical flash mob performance.  There’s just ninjas – and there’s a lot of them.

Best of all, this type of flash mob can be cheap to produce and is easily repeatable for big brands. Can you imagine if Best Buy ran a campaign where a stranger is flooded with presents?  Maybe the ‘stanger’ is a local hero or a working man down on his luck?  Or maybe Best Buy stations a child by himself, and whoever stops by to help is flooded rewarded? Any one of these things would be a huge PR win.

2. Happy birthday for a bus driver

Flash mobs can occur anywhere – even on a bus.  If you want to attract media attention, make sure your location (as well as song choice) is unique.

3. Freeze mob in Paris

It’s the world’s largest freeze flash mob – and it’s by the Eiffel Tower. Enough said.

4. The Bristol lightsaber flash mob

Music and dance based flash mobs can be expensive – you have to train the participants, hire a dance team and sometimes even pay for the right to sing the music. If you want to save on costs, involve ‘regular’ people. Put out a call to arms on your Facebook page or on Craigslist.

This is a great way to create a flash mob at scale, and these participants are likely to tweet about your event, link to your site, and even share pictures online.

Here’s another great example of a flash mob in Poland, using no music and lots of ‘regular’ people.

5. Hopper invasion by Sony Ericsson

I’m not sure if this is real (particularly the ending), but it’s an amazing example of a unique flash mob. Imagine if you were sitting in your car and hundreds of folk came bouncing down the street. It would certainly be a pleasant interruption to your morning commute at the very least.

6. Improv everywhere invades Best Buy

If you have a similarly well-known brand image to Best Buy, use that and flood the streets with it. Imagine what a statement it be for McDonald’s to have 200 people dress up as Ronald McDonald, and had them invade Times Square, handing out Happy Meal toys. Scary, but definitely memorable.

7. Dancing inmates

If you’re going to do an Michael Jackson inspired flash mob, it had better be good. One way to do this is to think about who’s going to perform. If you have a unique ‘who’, then you’ll most likely be saved from being a cliché.

Getting inmates from the Philippines to perform a well choreographed dance to They Don’t Care About Us is most definitely that.

So for the next Lady Gaga ‘dance off’, why not have it performed by a 300 strong biker gang like the Hell’s Angels? Just a thought…

8. Thriller, with 13,957 people

Another way to escape beng a cliché is to increase the amount of people you involve in your flash mob. Note that if you’re going to try this tactic, you’ll need to beat at least 13,957 if you want to garner any real attention.

9. Flashmob dominoes

Another flash mob created with ‘regular’ people.  Cheap to produce and very memorable.

10. Bounce by Monster.se

This flash mob, powered by Monster.se, is a great example of how to create a stunt based around dance. It distinguishes itself by taking what you’d normally expect, and turning it upside down. Literallly in this case since most of it is performed when people are on their backs.

11. The flash Haka at Sylvia Park

What’s more memorable than seeing 200 people do a Haka war dance? The great thing about this example it’s no fuss, since the ‘dance’ already exists.

12. MP3 flash mob

Another Improv Everywhere stunt. Just a bit of out of the box thinking. If you’re thinking of doing a flash mob at scale, you should probably hire them to coordinate it.