Carrotmob Launch
March 31st, 2008

This past Saturday, March 29th 2008 at 1pm PST, witnessed the first ever Carrotmob launch. As was posted on smartmobs earlier in the month by Marius Chitosca, Carrotmob is an organization dedicated to coordinating consumers to reward companies for environmentally sustainable behavior (and has a fantastic business plan, I might add). It was created by Brent Schulkin, a game developer for The Go Game. Essentially, Carrotmob coordinates smart mobs of sustainable consumption, which is precisely what went down on Saturday. The target: K &D Market on Guerrero @ 16th. The strategy: get as many people as possible to buy as much as possible. The operation: K & D pledged to allocate 22% of gross revenue from Carrotmobbers, towards energy-saving measures. And the result: definitely something!

A few of us arrived early to participate in a hip hop music video, which consisted of dancing down the isles with laundry detergent and canned beans, and showering each other (and unsuspecting shoppers) with paper money. Nearing 1pm, the Carrotmob began to form outside. The line quickly grew from the entrance to the store all the way around the corner; bloggers, vloggers, and podcasters swarmed the premises, interviewing those in line about their expectations; bouncers posted themselves at the front of the line, ensuring that the venue not get overcrowded; a band played live music outside; and a video camera perched directly across from the store’s entrance captured excited carrotmobbers making their grand exits with purchases in arm. And over an hour later, with the line still extending around the corner, the carrotmob migrated over to Dolores Park, where drinks were shared and more live music enjoyed.

Besides being a blast, this event is indicative of emerging instances of “socially networked consumption” (to learn more about what that means, you’ll have to read my thesis). That is, the leveraging of social networking for purposes of strategic consumption. Oh and how did I find out about it? Through Facebook from a friend of a friend.

(Media from the event, including the hip hop video, will be linked here when available.)

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