More than 100 women in matching pink dresses danced through Woodfield Mall earlier this month, creating a spectacle that is now a popular national television commercial for T-Mobile.
As of Monday night, T-Mobile's "Home for the Holidays" ad had been viewed nearly 2.5 million times on YouTube, and the 60-second version had aired on national networks.
T-Mobile spokesman Scott Goldberg insisted it wasn't a flash mob, but rather, a "surprise musical performance" that took place between noon and 7 p.m. Dec. 1 at the Schaumburg mall.
The commercial was directed by "Glee" director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, and it featured 106 dancers -- 100 of whom were from the Chicago area -- dancing to the song, "There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays." More than 300 dancers auditioned for the gig in November, and among those who made the cut were girls from Schaumburg and Barrington high schools, Goldberg said. T-Mobile spokesmodel Carly Foulkes, wearing her trademark pink dress, also danced in the ad.
Goldberg said the mall was busy during the weekday filming, which required "a lot of takes." He said the shoppers shown in the commercial were real people, not actors.
"I would describe people reacting at first as inquisitive, but then, wow, this is fun," Goldberg said.
The company scouted many malls around the U.S. for this commercial, but chose Woodfield because it's the second biggest shopping center in the country. Plus, its holiday decor and layout -- the ramps, glass elevators and multi-levels -- lent itself to such a dance number, said Goldberg, who grew up in Wheeling.
A spokeswoman for the mall declined to comment, saying mall management all signed nondisclosure agreements with T-Mobile. However, it's believed to be the first national ad filmed at Woodfield, the spokeswoman said.
T-Mobile is based in Washington state but has 1,100 retail locations in the Chicago area.
The next time the ad will air on television is 9 p.m. Wednesday on NBC during "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit." It also will air through the holidays on CW and FOX network shows, Goldberg said.