08 Sep

Causing a Scene

Improv Everywhere is a comedy group focused on causing scenes of chaos and joy in public places. While they are well known for their stunts, the group has also written a book outlining 20 of their most successful “missions”.

Improv Everywhere was established in mid-2001 and has since, successfully executed over 100 missions. Their stunts range from riding the New York City subway in their underwear to having a member pretend to be lost at a professional basketball game. Regardless of the task, thousands of individuals participate in the events.

After years of successful improv events, the group has built up a substantial fan base. For one of their most recent gigs, the group organized a “Black Tie Beach” stunt. Held on Coney Island (Brighton Beach), the plan attracted hundreds of participants ranging in age from infants to the elderly. Covering a mile-long stretch of ocean, the day was nothing short of a success.

As a social media enthusiast and educated marketer, I cannot help but look at these events as potential viral campaigns. From the brief research I have conducted on this group and its contributing members, they are brilliant creatives with endless potential. Just look at the highlight reel from the Black Tie Beach:

One contributing member is non other than BBDO NY’s Creative Director, Jeff Greenspan. What started as a personal project on small streets in NYC, was turned into an Improv Everywhere event for the record book. Earlier this summer, Jeff and Improv Everywhere created “The Tourist Lane” on 5th Avenue and 22nd Street. Posing as Department of Transportation employees, the group simulated a test-block that was split into two lanes: one for tourists and the other for local New York citizens.

Needless to say, Improv Everywhere classified The Tourist Lane as “Mission Accomplished”. Rightfully so, may I add! The event was covered in every major media provider after an onlooker posted an image of the event to his Tumblr blog. Mayor Bloomberg commented on the event at a press conference, stating, “When I saw it I said, ‘Oh, that’s a nice thing to do.’ I thought it was very cute.”

So, would you ride the NYC subway in your underwear?


–        Improv Everywhere – Link
–        BBDO – Link
–        Jeff Greenspan – Link
–        No Underwear Subway Ride – Link