Tag Archives: cocreation

A marketing miracle

Gareth Kay, head planner at Goodby, Silverstein and Partners, was asked to do something for the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg.  There wasn’t much money. And museums are notoriously difficult to making meanings for.  (They believe themselves immaculately formed.)

But Kay and his team put to work and eventually they created what I think is a perfectly brilliant strategy.  Here’s how Gareth describes it.  

[We] landed on the idea of helping people release their inner Salvador through a photo App that could create surrealist overlays, a modern day ode to the brilliance that is Dali. We decided to partner with someone to give us critical mass of users and distribution, so we reached out to Hipstamatic. They liked the idea so much that they have worked with us to create a lens and film pak for the app (the Dali Museum Goodpak), waved their fee and pledged to donate any income from sales of the pack (it costs 99c) to the museum. [W]e’ll also be projecting images taken with the pak on to the museum’s new building on it’s opening night.

Oh, how entirely interesting.  In London last week, I stole a moment to visit the Victoria and Albert Museum and especially the Tudor rooms…and came out knowing less about Early Modern England than I did going in.  The V&A appeared determined to put as much glass and exhibition tech between the visitor and the objects as possible, and to withhold most of the ideas and emotions that would have made these objects live.  In an age when almost every other institution is disintermediating at a ferocious pace, it was especially tragic.  

How wonderful then to see Kay at work.  His Hipstamatic strategy is all about the take-away, about making the Dali sensibility available to the world.  Cheap and cheerful, unassuming but in its way quite engaging, the Dali pak makes the museum portable.  Dali, I think, would have been amused, and the Museum, well, who knows how museums think, but it’s hard to imagine the Dali Museum isn’t thrilled.  I took the photo above from a speeding car in New York City yesterday.  Thus, thanks to Kay and company, did the museum come to live in the life of someone thousands of miles away.

We’ve got several of the new orthodoxies of marketing at work here.  The Hipstamatic strategy gives us participation, cocreation, and transformation, all in all a wonderful little culturematic.  It gives us the opportunity to install and then experiment with the sensibility for which the museum stands.  Kay makes something that makes meanings for the visitor and in the process the museum.  This is a fine order of meaning manufacture.  

Hats off to Kay, Goodby, Silverstein and Partners and Hipstamatic.  


Kay, Gareth.  2010.  Released Your Inner Dali.  Brand New.  November 5.  here.

Local Motors: a glimpse of the future?

Is this a glimpse of the future?

Detroit without Detroit?

Detroit de-troited?

Local Motors outsources the design task (in this case to Mihai Panaitescu), builds variations on to a single chassis (in this case from BMW) and invites consumers to come to the plant (in Massachusetts) and help build the car.

Customization, local content, consumer participation (aka cocreation), these things are now happening everywhere in Western economies.  But it looked as if certain industries would remain locked in the old world of mass and mono manufacture.  Any industry that is capital intensive, constrained by government requirement, and engaged in a complex production process…surely this would continue to make product the old fashioned way.

Enter Local Motors

In the FAQ, Local Motors asks this question:

How does Local Motors intend to build and sell cars?  Doesn’t this cost hundreds of millions of dollars?

Their answer:

To compete with the major auto manufacturers, it would cost hundreds of millions of dollars. However, we do not intend to compete with them in terms of size or mass appeal. Our focus is specifically car enthusiasts and design lovers. We intend a simpler product and a lower volume. You might ask then why customers will pay for that simplicity, and we would answer that the specialized local nature of the business is meant to make up for that differentiation. We are ALL ABOUT bringing the fun of cars back to people’s hometown. Think of Micro-Beer for cars or Organic Food markets. What would you pay more for: a generic beer purchased at a 7-11, or a custom Micro-Brew? Where would you rather shop: an Organic Food Market with local produce, or a Supermarket Chain? The products at these types of local places are simpler and created with less manufacturing complexity, though they cost more because they are special and lower volume. Therefore, we do not intend to create a large OEM only to sell cars through dealerships. Volume is not our thing.

The strategy here is interesting, micro manufacture, niche markets, branding by location, making locality the basis of product variation.  It’s all about going intensive where cars have traditionally been extensive.  "Volume is not our thing."

The FAQ then asks:

How will Local Motors sell cars?

The answer:

Cars will be sold from specialized facilities distributed across the United States. These local facilities will not only stimulate local economies, they will be a source of pride for the entire community.

Local Motors will create an aspirational experience of scarcity driven demand whereby the local factory will create a Wonka-like fascination with its products and methods. Not only will it sell its cars, but it will sell the experience of people being able to visit and watch their car being "born."

Now, the factory, long the guilty, throw-a-tarp-on-it, or at least put it on the edge of town, is now one of the sites of meaning manufacture.  Whether Local Motors can actually capture Wonka-like fascination remains to be seen, but perhaps for car enthusiasts and design lovers, this is not so hard.  In any case, the process of meaning manufacture is as different here as is the process of physical manufacture.

Clearly, an exercise like this still takes lots of capital.  But this model of car making feels like a return to the early days of the auto biz. When the game was played locally, by small players, with a massive amount of tinkering, and lots of participation from the owner.  What an interesting experiment.  The old dog learns new tricks.


For the Local Motors website, go here.


Thanks to Alan Moore for telling me about Local Motors this morning.  See Alan’s website here.

Note: This post was lost in the Network Solutions debacle of last year.  It was reposted Dec. 24, 2010.  Apologies to those who left comments.  Those are long lost.  Sorry!