In 2014 we put on a pop-up shop with the aim of raising funds for the Central Saint Martins Graphics Degree Show in 2015. The challenge was clear: how could we promote and publicise our shop with no budget? It was the perfect opportunity to experiment with exploiting social media and the vast audiences it presented us with. The key was to find a way to hook people into viewing a website that promoted our shop.
Central Saint Martins is renowned for its weird, wonderful and downright mental art projects. My idea was to play on our reputation.
The result was Worth: The worlds first social-media-fuelled price-drop pop-up:
Limited edition objects designed and manufactured by students at Central Saint Martins started off with a price tag of £1,000,000 each. The twist was that each time the Worth website was shared over social media, the price dropped.
We had to give people an irresistible reason to share the our website with others. To ‘incentivise’ sharing we gave users the power to force down the overall price with a simple share button.
Once pressed, our algorithm assigned a value to each user’s share and auto- populated their Tweet or Facebook status with “This tweet/ status is worth £xxx,xxx.xx”. When successfully posted, people were rewarded by seeing how their actions made an immediate impact on the price.
Worth pop-up was an experiment, both in terms of its message and its marketing. It demonstrated the power of the crowd in action: people working together to dictate the ultimate price of what was on sale.
Rather than making a direct comment on the value of objects or art, the aim was to provoke others to question what we mean by ‘value’: who defines it and what makes objects really ‘worth’ what they cost. It fuelled a lively online debate about the meaning of ‘value’ in the creative arts.