marketing | July 16, 2012

Rob Walker's Significant Objects: How Storytelling Adds Value

Significant Objects, an eBay art experiment by Lavin’s Rob Walker, earned deafening buzz in marketing circles for showing the (monetary) value that a great story can add to an otherwise ordinary object. In the book Significant Objects, co-authored with Joshua Glenn, Walker presents a stunning mediation on the value of narrative. Rob Walker, who contributes to The New York Times Magazine, Design Observer, and The Atlantic, speaks often on the intricate relationship between people, corporations, and the consumer goods that pass between them.

Here’s more about Significant Objects:

Can a great story transform a worthless trinket into a significant object? The Significant Objects project set out to answer that question once and for all, by recruiting a highly impressive crew of creative writers to invent stories about an unimpressive menagerie of items rescued from thrift stores and yard sales.

That secondhand flotsam definitely becomes more valuable: sold on eBay, objects originally picked up for a buck or so sold for thousands of dollars in total — making the project a sensation in the literary blogosphere along the way.

But something else happened, too: The stories created were astonishing, a cavalcade of surprising responses to the challenge of manufacturing significance. Who would have believed that random junk could inspire so much imagination?