iPhone Stunt Would Make Lucy, Ethel Proud

Separated by 56 years, Lucy, Ethel and Atomic Tom have lots in common. Each knew how a well-crafted stunt can create buzz and publicity that money can’t buy. In a minute, we’ll get to the I Love Lucy episode where the ladies posed as Martians atop the Empire State Building. http://www.tv.com/i-love-lucy/lucy-is-envious/episode/17126/recap.html?tag=episode_header;recap In the same city this week, an unheralded band named Atomic Tom http://www.facebook.com/atomictomband created a stir as well, breaking out in song on the B train backed only by music generated by iPhone applications. Because I had never heard of them until Friday, I can’t say how many of the band’s 27,000 Facebook fans existed before the boys took to the subway in one of the most inspired viral efforts in years. The band says they turned to lyrics and iPhone apps after their instruments were stolen. Not likely – and not important. The “performance” was “captured” on video – further debunking the thievery setup. As of Saturday morning, there were more than 132,000 YouTube views of the most eventful ride on the B Train in years (actually, having lived in New York, many B train rides are eventful). There have been several calls for Apple to use the footage in a commercial. The Making of story will be fascinating, no doubt imitated, and would certainly gain a salute from Lucy and Ethel, those wacky women from yesteryear. You may be old enough to recall that in the episode Lucy's lies to her rich and snotty ex-schoolmate put her on the hook for a $500 charity pledge. In order to come up with the money, she and Ethel agree to a publicity stunt ahead of the opening of a movie about Martians. Fifty-six years later, we’re still talking about it. As for Atomic Tom, call them masters of new media. They got on our radar using viral marketing, personal technology and creativity – all for little more than the cost of four subway tokens. (Article first published as A Notable iPhone Stunt On Subway on Technorati)