Thursday, September 2, 2010

"flash mob" of potomac kids converges on wheaton plaza, sells shoes

Our friends at Westfield Wheaton Wheaton Plaza sent us this video of a "flash mob" promoting the latest sales and promotions at the mall, set to the immortal classic "Footloose." Westfield worked with the choral department at "Potomac, MD's Church Hill High School," writes marketing director Sidney Woods.

After watching the video, I have three questions:

1) Have these kids ever set foot east of Rock Creek Park, let alone at Wheaton Plaza? (When I worked in Rockville, all of my teenaged coworkers warned each other never to "go to the sketchy Wheaton mall.")

2) Don't the folks at Westfield Wheaton know who Winston Churchill is, let alone that the school is named for him?

3) And when you hear the term "flash mob," do you think of a) a choreographed dance advertising a sale at Foot Locker; b), the packs of teenagers who converged on South Street in Philadelphia to rough up unsuspecting people; or c), hipsters throwing spontaneous pillow-fights? (Ah, those innocent days before social networking was used for only the purest of intentions.)

All snark aside, it's clear that the kids had fun doing this project, and before school started, no less. From what I can tell, they also edited the video, which looks very professional. Hopefully, they walked around the mall after taping was over, saw that nobody was getting shot or stabbed, discovered the Hollister, and concluded that there wasn't anything wrong with Wheaton Plaza. It sounds like Westfield's marketing department is getting the job done.


Sean P. Carr said...

Corporate-sponsored, officially sanctioned events aren't flash mobs.

Unknown said...

Gaah! My eyes!!!!!!

Patrick said...

Dan, I'm not sure why you keep trying to defend Wheaton Plaza. I've been there several times, and even without the violence it's not really worth defending.

It's a crappy suburban mall in an area near a metro stop. I'd much rather see something like DTSS happen in Wheaton (and DTSS needs to get rid of City Place). Wheaton will never undergo a revitalization with a crappy suburban mall at its heart.

I don't particularly like malls, but if I did go to one, Wheaton wouldn't be high on my list.

You're studying urban planning. There is nothing redeemable about suburban shopping malls. Once the economy stabilizes and gas prices continue their inevitable march upwards, the era of suburban shopping malls will come to an end. Why so much money was spent to revitalize a mall, when something so much more urban, authentic and permanent could have been built, I'll never understand.

I hope to God that the new company that owns City Place looks at what has worked in DTSS and goes towards that model. A suburban mall will never work in DTSS.

~Patrick Thornton

Casey A said...

@Patrick: I think it's fair to say that there's nothing wrong with Wheaton Mall that isn't also wrong with malls in general. It's not the best mall, but it's not the worst, and the idea that it is dangerous is absurd. Having said that, I don't like malls, either -- but for the foreseeable future we will be stuck with a lot of them, and we should try to figure out how to avoid aggravating the problems they present for land use planning (especially when they are right next to a Metro station, like the one in Wheaton). The eastern part of the county suffers from perceptions among many people that are no longer valid and/or never were accurate in the first place, like the idea that Wheaton and Silver Spring are "sketchy," as Dan puts it.

EMW said...

I find this so annoying. Why couldn't they use kids from a more local high school, like Wheaton, Einstein, or Northwood?