Tomorrow, between 3–6pm EST, don't be surprised to ride the subway next to a pantless fellow rider. Relax and play along. It's just the annual No Pants! Subway Ride. Yes, that's right, no pants.
I stumbled across this information on Facebook, since one of my friends will be participating in the NYC No Pants! Subway Ride. My curiosity peaked, I looked a little deeper into it. Is this real? Or just some publicity hoax? Are they actually stripping down in the middle of the NYC subway? Isn't January a little cold for such an event?
As it turns out this is the 7th Annual (always in January) No Pants! Subway Ride, organized by Improv Everywhere (IE), a NYC improv group that hosts various 'missions' around the city. Their various shenanigans receive a good amount of press, and at least the No Pants! Subway Ride has inspired additional chapters around the country and one in Australia. IE's creator, Charlie Todd, claims part of his group's mission, if there is one, is to reclaim the public space and blanket the city with comedy the way corporations have blanketed the city with ads. As an advertiser, my first thought was how you could harness this type of comedic event and use it for promotional purposes. It's intriguing and unforgettable to witness. Like other guerilla and viral advertising, the big question is will it have the same effect if people learn it's an ad?