Spontaneous Joy in Social Advertising

I spent the day with out of town visitors - my girlfriend's friends from college- and had two experiences in large groups that tell us much about the power of video experiences.

At the Manhattan JCC's Multisport Expo, Rachel and I attended a seminar on stretching- the new thesis in sports medicine seems to be that stretching before activity is not recommened, and that pre-activity warm-ups - a set of exercises was demonstrated- was preferable. 

The practitioners demonstrated two sets of warm-up exercises- meant to combat the idea that it's hard to fit the warmup into every workout.  At the end of the session, there was a phone number, a web site, an address, but no URL for the video.  Several people asked - we were all thinking it.  "Not Yet" the doctor's reply.  A completely disappointing missed opportunity to get all of us attendees- 100 people or so - to forward the experience of a great presentation and a real-take away, to our networks.  While it may be that the sports medicine practice didn't need the extra business- it was almost MEAN that we couldn't take the workout with us.  We'd have remembered that moment far better, to everyone's benefit.

I had lower expectations of the American Museum of Natural History, but this is a place that in many ways "gets it."  While parts of the museum are dark, scary places that likely haven't changed decor or content since the 1970s (I'm guessing about the latter but not the former), the dinosaur exhibits on the fourth floor were great.  I was definitely a dinosoaur-loving kid.  My favorite book at my granparents' house was Dinotopia, in which mankind discovers, and lives in harmony with, a lost world of dinosaurs.

I am prone to wandering a bit in museums (especially with dinosaurs involved) and I showed up  a few seconds too late to find Rachel and friends running in place and driving an imaginary car in front of a freestanding kiosk.  In fact, this was a camera-equipped video-production experience, which inserted video of the museum guest into a NYC Taxi being chased by T-Rex.  As though I was not already humming the Jurassic Park theme song!

The kiosk shoots video for 30 seconds or so, and prompts the user to send it, by email, to anyone you want!  Smart.  Part postcard, part email signup form, all fun, and sent at the perfect moment- this was exactly the kind of advertising the museum ought to be doing.  Don't sell me on the museum, sell mee on MY museum experience.  We came home and watched the video, and of course it offered some nice Museum of Natural History branding along with frantic T-Rex evasion.  I smiled, and my marketing self is still coming up with ways to enhance that experience. 

Capturing someone's spontaneuous joy is a powerful thing.