As the last-minute shopping season hits full pitch, Smart USA is one organization hoping for consumers to not indulge in poorly-thought purchases. Their ongoing effort, Against Dumb, highlights the amount of frivolous stuff we’re naturally inclined to consume in a culture where these things are immediately available to us.
To help combat this cultural pressure, Smart is asking consumers to consider their consumption habits, prompting people to think about poor purchasing decisions they’ve made in the past and share those with others. This is done through a Facebook fan page where people can submit what they consider to be their most wasteful purchase, where it is voted upon by the community for a chance to win a Smart car.
As you might imagine, the problem is much more complex than that which can be solved by submitting a photo on a brand’s page, but it’s interesting to note the character of the most popular items among those being shared. Ranging from novelty items like Handerpants (underwear for your hands…) to pet costumes and musical instruments, these once discarded items seem to be given new value through the collective comments that capture the sentiment of others who can relate. Flash communities, drawn instantly together by our collective human short-sightedness. The most popular item – a baby grand piano – exposes the fact that this band applies not just to the frivolous, but reflects something about the things people hope to do with their time as well. The problem of overconsumption is a social one in nature; while submitting a single photo may not be the whole solution, we suspect that when we do start to see consumption decline, it will take shape in saying something about oneself to – and connecting with – likeminded others in some way.
See a video explanation of Smart’s efforts below: