The Story behind “The Story of Stuff”

18Nov09
The Story of Stuff

Click through to watch the video after the jump

I stumbled upon Annie Leonard’s “Story of Stuff” through Facebook.  One of my friends had joined a group called Buy Nothing Day, an anti-consumerism play for people opposed to the buy! buy! buy! mentality of the day after Thanksgiving (Black Friday).

Now, my daisy chain-making hippie dippie side cheers when I see things like this, and my evil soul sucking business major side hisses and boos.  Which leaves me smack dab in the middle: a pragmatic observer of the things gone right or wrong with this manifestation of activism.

Number 1: The means of communication

It’s a video, so 10 points right there.  Oh, it’s an online video?  5 bonus points.  Wait, it’s based off a book and has a blog with several international versions?  Okay fine: infinity points for communication types.  But in all seriousness, the vessel is key to understanding, and the Story of Stuff has it’s recyclable, compostable, and non-toxic containers down pat.

Number 2: The message

I love a good flash animation.  Know why?  It actually focuses on the message!  This animation is primo because it’s clean, on message, and is used for all the branding of the video.  I know plenty of for-profit brands who could use this kind of consistent messaging across all corners of their brands.

Number 3: How it found me

This video is something I wanted to see.  I may not agree with it 100%, but I personally find it interesting and applicable to my life.  But before I could decide whether I wanted to see it, it had to get its grubby little internet paws on my eyeballs.  How did it do this?  By appealing to my network and sparking interest in other actions.  The group on Facebook that my friend was a member of wasn’t even for the video: it was for an event (Buy Nothing Day) that was created in the spirit of the video.  And my friend didn’t even directly show me the event.  The fact that she joined the group showed up in my news feed without me even asking her what she’s been up to lately.

I realize that these points are not the newest news, but I think it’s always good to take a step back to realize just how many ways there are to get a message out there in the ether and into the brain of the people who you want to use it.

And in the spirit of Buy Nothing Day, watch this SNL short:

Don't Buy Stuff You Cannot Afford

Big ups to The Consumerist for this one

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