We are all familiar (perhaps a bit too familiar) with lip dubs and flash mobs, where regular people, and sometimes not such regular people, are willing to make fools of themselves promoting some cause, product or business while pretending to either sing the latest hot music video, or dancing awkwardly to same.
Now the latest YouTube sensation is the “Cash Mob.” “What could that be?” you might ask in wonder. Taking a (limited) survey of some of the people in my surroundings I got a few good guesses. “How about throwing around money?” one ventured. Or perhaps its, “Pretending to dance and sing to the latest hot musical hit while holding money” another guessed.
None of the above. What has taken hold of the country by their pocketbooks is a wonderful publicity stunt designed to help local, small businesses in at least two ways. A happy mob of people descends on a particular mom & pop type shop with lots of moolah (around $20 according to Urban Dictionary) and the desire to spend it. Then they enter the store, as many as possible, taking care not to create a health hazard, and they buy, buy, buy! The sudden influx of cash is certainly a welcome phenomenon for any struggling (and not so struggling) small business.
But perhaps the second way the Cash Mob helps is the through the great publicity created by YouTube-broadcast of the event. It is a fun form of advertising which will hopefully entice people into a store that they most likely never heard of before.
The first time this was tried in Brooklyn was at the Community Book Store in Park Slope about a month ago. More recently, last Saturday as a matter of fact, the Mob descended on a shop which has been discussed in these pages before; By Brooklyn on Smith Street in Carrol Gardens. The happy spenders were told to meet on Smith and Butler, just up the street, at 4pm. When enough people finally arrived to make a good impression, they walked over to By Brooklyn, the ‘Brooklyn-centric’ boutique, and entered, picking things up and buying them in droves.
So who was the ultimate arranger of Brooklyn’s second Cash Mob event? None other than Ben and Jay, from a new business venture called Smallknot, which says they are the
“best way to fund and connect with the small businesses that make your neighborhood awesome.”
Smallknot’s Ben had this to say about the By Brooklyn Cash Mob: “maybe the best ever…never seen this many before!”
Jay said that using By Brooklyn as the focus of this Cash Mob event was particularly productive for small businesses because By Brooklyn is actually a distributer for other small businesses around Brooklyn, including craftsmen and artists from Gowanus. As Jay put it this event was “a million times more local” since the cash spent at this Cash Mob will go to many more local businesses that just By Brooklyn.