Anything curbside is fair game to passersby, but what about a chair left inside a park? These questions were answered in November when Blu Dot and its agency Mono concocted a two-day experiment that led up to Blu Dot's one-year anniversary in its SoHo location.
Over the course of two days, Mono placed 25 brand new "Real Good Chairs" throughout Manhattan, and watched and waited for these chairs to find new homes.
Each chair was GPS-equipped, allowing mono to track the chair's location and pay a visit to the chairs' new owners. Can you imagine taking a chair off the sidewalk and having someone ring your doorbell to inquire about the chair? An eight-minute-long documentary was created that chronicled the chairs' initial drop off, patient cameramen waiting on nearby buildings for someone to take the chairs and visits to the homes of those who took a chair.
According to Michael Hart, creative director and co-founder of mono, each chair was valued at $129 and equipped with a cell phone with GPS software. This software is valued at $200, so do the math; the GPS software is worth more than the chair itself.
Mono's biggest challenge was obtaining long-lasting battery life for the cell phone, something longer than 8 hours. Mono worked with technology consultant Tellart, who created an electrical switch to trigger the battery when the chair was picked up. Translated: the GPS was activated once the chair was on the move.
The documentary portrays the two-day event as loads of rogue fun. Fake squirrels housed hidden cameras, pedestrians were observed by camera crews and given code names!
Potential unidentified new-chair owners were referred to as PUNCOs, and identified new-chair owners were called INCOs. Chairs were snatched up from minutes to hours. Hart said "one gentleman in Confucius Square simply sat on a chair for an hour and a half before walking away."
People who picked up chairs were asked how they found the chair, how it's being used at home and how they transported it.
"Some people were taken back a bit and wondered how we were able to find them, " said Hart. "Others thought that they had perhaps taken someone else's chair. After the initial moments, though, most invited the documentary film crew into their homes for an interview and great conversation," he continued.
The event was promoted through Twitter and Flickr feeds, without any money spent on media placement.