On Saturday, April 4, I attended the along with tens of thousands of people in more than 100 cities worldwide. The pillow fight has become a semi-annual international event where people head to the streets for what as the seventh annual International Pillow Fight Day. This year’s event includesd cities across four continents including Shanghai, Seattle, Buenos Aires, Budapest, and of course New York. The annual pillow fight is part of an “urban playground” movement organized by New York- and Toronto-based Newmindspace, which has planned playful, free, large-scale activities on a global scale since 2005. I had actually bumped into one of the creators of Newmindspace, Kevin Bracken, at the end and was able to speak to him briefly. He said more than 250 cities have participated in the event since they started. In some cities, the spectacle has grown to include after-parties and even charity fundraisers. In New York, Newmindspace donates leftover pillows to a homeless shelter in the West Village and other groups. Luckily it was a beautiful day in Washington Square Park where we all met up and must have been at least a few hundred people. Some people were dressed in pajamas or regular clothes, and some even had on costumes of knights or super heros.
It was my first time attending this event. My roommate had told me about it the week before and said he went last year and had a ton of fun, so we decided to check it out this year. It was a fun way to start off my holiday weekend. As for marketing, I hadn’t really heard of it before until my roommate told me about it last week. For an event like this my expectations were pretty low, I didn’t know how many people could’ve possibly turned out but it definitely exceeded my expectations. I didn’t really see any promotion around the city or even online on social media. I think events like these really make their way around by word of mouth. I know I had to have told at least a dozen people by the time it was over. I also think events like these happen to gain momentum every year they are held. It seems like every year they have a bigger and bigger turn out, and I think that has to do with the fact that we are in the biggest city in the world. People walking by on the street or cutting through the park are dragged into the event by their curiosity, and the ones who attend the event go on to post their experience on all platforms of social media.