Improv Everywhere created another excellent cultural jam last week, this time in Los Angeles, with the “Grocery Store Musical.” With so-called produce shoppers breaking out into song (“Let%uFFFDs Squish Our Fruit Together”) onlookers either started laughing or simply ignored the singers and kept buying their produce as though a spontaneous musical wasn%uFFFDt actually taking place.

The idea of Improv Everywhere arted in 2001 when New Yorker Charlie Todd, an actor/comedian, decided to do something about the fact that he couldn’t land a gig. He came up with the concept of Improv Everywhere as a way to bring together friends, which have now extended to thousands of “undercover agents,” to create funny moments in various public spaces.

These various subversive pranks have gained the attention of marketers for their viral hilariousness, but also attracted an international crowd of fans who have spawned their own grassroots Improv Everywhere movements. There%uFFFDs something completely fascinating about getting people to look at the mundane aspects of daily life in a different light using humor. It%uFFFDs super-sticky viral.

While culture jamming, usually done by street and graffiti artists, is redefining communication, entertainment, and marketing, it%uFFFDs also attracting advertisers who are catching onto things like Improv Everywhere as a way to get their message across. For example, while we laughed whole-heartedly at The Grocery Store Musical and guessed at it%uFFFDs location (probably in an actor-centric location like Silverlake or North Hollywood), we experienced a minor glitch in our circuitry (or as our tech director put it, “a deja vu in the Matrix”) when a quick 3 second “thank you” advertisement appeared for Trident Gum at the end. And we%uFFFDre not talking about a YouTube remnant Google ad from which Improv may make all of $134 bucks next quarter. This was real.

Still, tapping into the recent Glee TV fanaticism (courtesy of HSM%uFFFDs successful series) is genius and effective if not hilarious.

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