Buying Stories

The search for meaning.

Although on the surface consumers today seem materialistic, once you uncover why they buy, you will realize that they are anything but.
 
Consumers have become smarter and more cautious about what they spend their money on. When it comes time to making a decision, the mind will almost always choose what "feels" right by finding value and meaning in the product.

Author Rob Walker (Buying in: What we buy and who we are) and Joshua Glen conducted an experiment. The plan: Buy low-cost items and sell them on eBay. The strategy? Sell the items by telling a fictional story about it's past.

Over 200 writers contributed fictional stories for the products being sold. Using the power of storytelling, they raised almost $8,000, thats a 2,700% profit.

Below are just two of the items sold: The Cat Napkin Ring and The Owl Pin Cushion.

The Cat Napkin Ring: Original price: 50 cents. Final price: $31.00.

THE STORY
On the bus in the morning, Judith Zinn-Lasser squints to read the small classifieds in The New Yorker, in hopes of finding something really bizarre, like an ad for an island owned by plutocrats where you can hunt St. Bernards. George was a dog person. Is a dog person. He is not dead, he is just gone, and that’s fine and he and Mindy should be happy, because how can you be named “Mindy” and not be? It is a riddle, because the answer is, “you can’t.”

Judith lives with three cats and a foster kitten she will never be able to part with. When she is not at work, she is busy, or she is on the phone, complaining about being busy. She decided to take a wine pairing class. She’s been doing JDate. She’s going to do Zumba at the Y. She is cleaning out the apartment.

Which brings us to the cat napkin ring. More

The Owl Pin Cushion: Original price: $0.50. Final price: $41.00.

THE STORY
Dr. Irena Svetskaia still found it hard to believe when she looked at the little pincushion owl that something so mundane could be supporting the spacetime matrix. In 2158 it had been discovered that the fabric of spacetime was fraying. Alarmingly so near the great technopolises of Sant-Angeles-Diego and Mumbai. Dr. Svetskaia’s father had made the discovery, for which he had been awarded the Nobel Prize. Many relativity experts did not like it at all; it did not please their Platonist hearts that the structure of space and time could be influenced by human activity. But there it was. Alexei Svetsky had devoted his life to building a device that would measure Minkowskian spacetime, planning to test the most delicate predictions of general relativity. The Minkometer, as it was now fondly known, had revealed an unexpected link between relativity and quantum mechanics mediated by human subjectivity. The Copenhagenists had been thrilled, of course; still, even they were shaken by the nature of the link. More

See what kind of stories you can create around your product and let us know the results.

Morty Silber, CEO

Mad Strategies Inc.
a Wizard of Ads Partner