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06/11/2008 - par Mark Tungate (tungateinparis@hotmail.com)

Apparently the economic crisis has persuaded some advertisers to stop spending money on the internet and concentrate on traditional media like TV and print. Many clients and agencies no doubt feel relieved that they've been able to forget the complexity of the digital revolution and return to the comforting simplicity of the 20th century – but I doubt their audiences are doing the same.
Last Friday night I was sitting in a bar in Barcelona with a bunch of people who could probably be described as trendsetters: a graphic designer, a fashion journalist, a writer and a scientist for a cosmetics company. When the subject got on to media, we all struggled to remember the last time we'd turned on the TV. What we were excited about, though, was World Thriller Night.
This was a web-driven event that encouraged people to meet in cities around the world and recreate the zombie dance from Michael Jackson's Thriller video, to mark its 25th anniversary. Sure enough, we all turned up at Plaça del Rei the following night to watch the show. A ragged group of students, Michael Jackson fans and zombies had gathered in the middle of the square. When the familiar opening music kicked in, they launched into an impressive dance routine. It was hilarious, pointless – and hugely entertaining. Why had nobody thought to sponsor it? Where was Barcelona's local beer? Probably beaming into empty living rooms while we were out making new friends, thanks to the power of the web.

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