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Tim Tebow-mania inspires PR “flash mob” in Jacksonville

When the North Florida chapter of the Public Relations Society of America was planning a “flash mob” to underscore the power of public relations professionals in Jacksonville, members began thinking about what would make their public display meaningful.

For the uninitiated, flash mobs are those well-planned public displays – a dance, a song, a pillow fight – that are meant to look spontaneous. So these PR mavens were trying to come up with something to generate a lot of attention, said Bonnie Upright, the North Florida PRSA board member, who organized the event.

Tim Tebow.

Of course, Jacksonville’s current favorite son, former Florida quarterback, Heisman Trophy winner, NFL hopeful. The idea that Tebow could be the theme of a flash mob further cements his reputation as highly marketable at least until we learn where he's taken in the NFL draft, which starts Thursday night.

Secretly, the group planned a dance number to Ke$ha’s "Tik Tok" to perform the Saturday before the NFL draft at Jacksonville Landing, the shopping and dining complex on the St. John’s River. (This was planned well in advance of Ke$ha's appearance as musical guest on that night's "Saturday Night Live," Upright said.) The complex would be celebrating Earth Day, ensuring a big crowd for the PR stunt. The group contacted the complex to secure use of its sound system and find a 10-minute spot for its “impromptu” performance.

“Public relations professionals are on the forefront of social media,” said Upright, president of Upright Public Relations in Orange Park. “We want businesses that need public relations to go ‘Wow.’ We want them to contact members of this organization.”

The group would don No. 15 Tebow jerseys – donated for the cause, of course; jeans shorts (I’m told this is a Gator thing…or perhaps only in North Florida); and eyeblack. (Check out photos courtesy of the North Florida PRSA).

They recruited friends and family members, but told them only to wear jeans shorts and comfortable shoes. Upright said she encouraged FSU fan friends in the group to view wearing Tebow shirts "as mocking Timmy, having fun at Tim’s expense, while the rest of us were honoring him.”

The eyeblack, needed to have a message a la Tebow. So the group planned a charitable component too, adding to the eyeblack to promote an organization aiming to collect 1 million used and new T-shirts to send to the needy in Africa.

The group of about 70 gathered Saturday morning, spent two hours rehearsing – and there’s even a Heisman pose incorporated into the dance.

Then they stunned the complex that was swarming with customers. At the end of their dance, group members hung around to talk about FSU fans donated their Tebow jerseys to the cause, Upright said. Other performers also donated their shirts.

“Maybe Timmy will stumble upon them,” when he’s doing missionary work, Upright said.

She’s also hoping footage from their display will somehow make its way into broadcast coverage of the NFL draft. Watch the raw footage here:

Categories: NFL (178), Promotions (120), UF (18)

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About the author
CRAIG DAVIS In more than 33 years at the Sun Sentinel, Craig Davis has written about a wide variety of sports topics from baseball to yachting, fishing to triathlons, and also worked as a copy editor and page designer. Recently he reported on local sports, including running, swimming, cycling, equestrian and beach volleyball. He enjoys sports as a participant as well as a spectator, is active in the South Florida running scene plays in the curling club at Saveology Iceplex. This blog offers a glimpse at the business side of sports in the interest of enhancing enjoyment of the games and sporting options as a spectator as well as a participant.
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