Something Strange Is Happening With Viral Marketing in NYC, and Donald Glover Is Involved

Is a flash mob revival next?

Donald Glover
The marketing for Donald Glover's new show took a strange turn.
Samir Hussein/WireImage

If you were on social media this week, you may well have seen a clip of Tyra Banks courtside at a Brooklyn Nets game surrounded by two people dressed as furries. (Perhaps they were actual furries. It’s not clear from the footage.) This was memorably surreal in its own right, but it turns out that the furries were part of a broader campaign — one that hearkens back to the “wait, what is happening right now?” heyday of branded flash mobs for sheer bewildering energy.

Oh, and Donald Glover is involved somehow.

As Ryan Kailath and Precious Fondren reported for Gothamist, the courtside furry photo-op was just one of a series of bewildering events that took place in New York City this week — and which were shared by Glover on social media. Another event included New York Comedy Club being “evacuated” — which the venue later confirmed on social media was part of the plan by event producer HiHi.

According to Gothamist’s article, HiHi was also the namesake of a contest advertised in late 2023 — and, intriguingly, that phrase is also central to the new series Mr. and Mrs. Smith, which stars Glover and Maya Erskine. (The entity’s Instagram profile asks a timeless question: “Would you risk it all to have it all?”) As Keegan Kelly pointed out at an article at Cracked, the comedy club evacuation went relatively viral earlier in the week — but at what cost?

Alternately, there’s a broader question at work here: is any publicity really good publicity? This certainly has people talking — but the tone is less lauding the absurdist comedy of it all and more wondering why any of it is happening, or what it has to do with a new streaming show. We truly live in strange times.

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.