Added value storytelling: Significant Objects


New York Times Magazine columnist Rob Walker decided to test the value of made-up stories with what he thought was a “hopeless project” but turned into a roaring success. With Significant Objects, Walker and co-founder Joshua Glenn decided to auction 100 items on eBay with an imaginary narrative surrounding them. Each object had to cost less than $4 originally and be an integral part of the subsequent story. A range of authors was recruited across genres from the unknown to the seminal – William Gibson wrote a particularly good tale about an ashtray. The experiment was so successful in the second round the objects were auctioned for charity resulting in a 2900% mark up. What consumers began to buy into was the story of the project – taking home a souvenir of the experiment. Walker is fascinated by the idea that you can change the biography of an object through the medium of storytelling. A gold rabbit candle Neil LaBute elegized over (original price: $3. Final price: $112.50) is going to be shown at an exhibition at the Space 1520 gallery – changing it’s value from a thrift store throwaway to a work of art.

Know what’s next. Become a WGSN member today to benefit from our daily trend intelligence, retail analytics, consumer insights and bespoke consultancy services.