for what it’s worth

stories and stimulus from a consumer insight consultant






sorry for the fuzzy photography – taken on my iPhone

Filed under: stuff on the streets


Spotted this on the ground at Washington Square during a recent trip to San Francisco – no idea who created it or what their motive was, but the handwritten messages on sticky tape definitely put a smile on my face. A daily dose of positivity and reality as you cross the road!




Filed under: stuff on the streets, ,





Filed under: stuff on the streets



I’ve covered pillow fights and urban events before, but had to mention the official World Pillow Fight Day this Saturday with feathered fights taking place in over 25 cities around the world. Conceived by The Urban Playground Movement, a loose network of urban events organisers across the globe who all share the same mission of injecting fun and play into the urban architecture, the event will spread from Beijing to Seattle across the course of the day making it’s presence felt by taking over key landmarks including Union Square, Sydney Opera House, and the Arts Institute of Chicago.

“One of our goals is to make these unique happenings in public space become a significant part of popular culture, partially replacing passive, non-social, branded consumption experiences like watching television, and consciously rejecting the blight on our cities caused by the endless creep of advertising into public space. The result, we hope, will be a global community of participants, not consumers, in a world where people are constantly organizing and attending these happenings in every major city in the world.

Looks like there might be some pretty big gatherings- the facebook group for the NYC event has 11,405 confirmed guests already! In the UK it is being hosted by Mobile Clubbing who will be found in Leicester Square from 3.03pm, pillows at the ready.

Filed under: stuff on the streets,



The city of Santa Ana is waging war on graffiti and tagging – and asking parents to shop their own children! On the city’s website they are quick to dismiss any argument about artistic expression, saying instead “Tagging causes blight in our community resulting in a genuine threat to the quality of life, incalculable economic losses to businesses, and can lead to the general deterioration of the area in which you live or work”, and going on to describe to parents – with the help of this hysterical caricature- how to spot if a tagger is living under their roof.

Alongside this, the website also explains the city’s Graffiti Reward Program which offers ‘$500 for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of suspects for tagging or graffiti related vandalism’ – helping to incentivize a loving parent to be a ‘good citizen’!

According to Santa Ana City Council:

Taggers come from every race and socio-economic background. Although most taggers are males there are female taggers. Some indicators that your child may be a tagger are:

  • Your child is in the age group statistically associated with tagging, ages 12-18.
  • Your child has tagging written on their clothing such as their shoes or inside their baseball cap, schoolbooks, notebooks, backpacks, cd covers, and on their bedroom furniture or walls.
  • Your child frequently wears baggy pants or carries a large backpack. These are used to carry cans of spray-paint, various colors and types of magic markers, etching tools, slap tags and cameras to take photos of their taggings. The clothes and backpack may be paint stained.
  • Your child has large quantities of magic markers in various colors, types and sizes, spray-paint cans, shoe polish containers, or dot markers used to mark bingo cards.
  • Your child has or carries tools used for etching glass or mirror surfaces such as spark plug porcelain, drill bits, screwdrivers with a sharpened tip, small rocks, or any other type of sharp instrument.
  • Your child has large quantities of “Hello My Name Is” stickers, priority mail stickers, or number or letter stickers. These stickers may have drawings or a tagging moniker written on them. These stickers are used to “slap tag.” They are slapped upon a surface and are difficult to remove and generally leave a residue.
  • Your child has the same moniker or set of letters written repeatedly on the above-described material. This may be your child’s tagging moniker and tagging crew’s initials.
  • Your child is frequently deceitful about their activities and cannot adequately explain why they possess the above described items.
  • Your child stays out late at night or has taken to sneaking out of the house.
  • Your child frequently has paint or marker residue on their fingertips.
  • Your child has or carries a black artist notebook that contains tagging or drawings. These books are called “bibles” or “piece books.”
  • Your child frequently visits tagging websites on the computer, owns tagging magazines, or has photographs of tagging in their bedroom.
  • Your child has the same tagging on their schoolbooks, clothing or in their bedroom that you see in your neighborhood or surrounding area. Taggers generally tag in or near their own neighborhoods.
  • Your child associates with other people who exhibit these same traits. These other people may be members of your child’s “tagging crew.

via Wooster Collective

Filed under: stuff on the streets,


picture-171A little over-dramatic maybe, but Reuters have put a video on their site titled ‘Euros Invade New York’, describing how some stores in Manhattan’s East Village are now happily accepting Euros from customers. With the weak dollar enticing European tourists to spend it’s interesting to see some stores adapting to cater to these consumers. As Robert Chu, owner of East Village Wines explains “We had decided that money is money and we’ll take it and just do the exchange whenever we can with our bank”.

watch the video here

Filed under: stuff on the streets, ,


switchedonlondonSwitched On London is a lighting festival in the capital that aims to highlight the importance of sustainable lighting design in the night-time urban environment. For the second year running, a number of sites will be lit from February 7th – 14th in an energy efficient way to show the power of light in the city. 15 locations including the Tower of London, Southwark cathedral, Tower Bridge, London Bridge and the Design Museum are being illuminated from 6pm till midnight with stimulating energy-efficient installations created by the joint forces of leading lighting designers and manufacturers. The event will be audited for its energy consumption and its overall environmental impact whilst at the same time highlighting the gross wastage in unnecessary lighting of office space at night.

The festival has widespread support from the architectural lighting industry as well as some of the city’s key institutions including the Mayor of London, City of London council, Southwark council, Visit London, New London Architecture, The Pool of London and the Arts Council.

According to Paul James, editor of architectural lighting magazine mondo*arc and director of the festival:

Although we understand that energy use is a ‘burning issue’, we need light to live and as our lifestyles evolve, the benefits of good urban lighting are undeniable. The perception is that architectural lighting leads to wasted energy and light pollution. However, the majority of the lighting industry continually strives to tackle the issue of energy. From luminaire design that avoids light pollution to the promotion of lower energy and more efficient sources, the lighting industry is well educated in recycling, waste issues and the misuse of our natural resources. Our hope is that Switched On London will have value beyond simple decoration. It is an opportunity to use light to educate the public and newspaper journalists alike. It is essential to illuminate better, not less.

Switched On London

download a guide of locations here

Filed under: creative ideas, evironmental insights, stuff on the streets



With the latest issue of French Vogue styling their editorial shoot on multi-tattooed Amy Winehouse, and John Paul Gaultier sending his couture models down the catwalk complete with tattooed shoulders and legs (well, tights), it looks like the fashion industry is all for getting inked this season. A recent article in the NY Times also points to the current appetite for temporary tattoos as an adornment to an outfit- from the cute childhood ink transfers to more elaborate unique designs applied by make-up artists. In a time where many feel individuality is losing out to high street hegemony, tattoos are losing the social stigma once connected and seemingly helping fuel a return to self-expression:

“Temporary tattoos are back,” said Michael Benjamin, the president of Temptu, a New York supplier of mock tattoos and body paints. In more than a decade as Temptu’s chief executive, Mr. Benjamin has seen their status wax and wane. He said that in the last year or two, his business has doubled. And these days, he has an armful of competitors, companies like Funtoos, Tattoo Shock and Body Graphics.

Danielle Fonseca, who applied ink-transfer tattoos to a gaggle of models at Mr. Jacobs’s party, views them as a faintly kinky adjunct to traditional makeup. “They offer a kind of branding,” she said, “a way people have of defining themselves.”

“Tattoos add personality and character,” said Donald Simrock, a makeup artist who has fashioned a variety of fakes for fashion shows and advertising campaigns. “Like that vintage car you buy, they can be an extension of your personality.”

Tattooed for a Day, Wild for a Night

Filed under: stuff on the streets,

Power to the Poachers

poach the mountains

To protest the fact that there are four “fascist”ski resorts in the U.S that still don’t allow snowboarding, Jake Burton, owner of snowboard brand Burton, has launched the “Poach for Freedom” challenge, encouraging snowboarders to submit videos of themselves “poaching” the forbidden mountains. Acknowledging the fact that this is particularly difficult task to achieve, the company are offering $5,000 for the most creative video from each resort. Alongside this, Seattle-based winter sportswear retailer evo is adding an extra $5,000 to the prize fund ($1,250 extra per resort) in a move that they claim is aimed at promoting synergy between skiers and snowboarders, both of whom make up their client base.

On his site, Jake makes some very relevant points about the enforced segregation, in particular that two of the four resorts operate on federal forest land and therefore should be available to all taxpayers, snowboarders included. The site also clearly expresses that they in no way encourage breaking the law- just the rules!!

“Until snowboarders everywhere are free to ride where they want to ride, until the snow and the slopes of this great nation have been purged of the scourge of segregation, until the four elitist, fascist resorts lift their draconian bans, there shall be no rest, no justice, and no peace. In the face of this blatant and aggressive disregard for the Declaration of independence and the Constitution of the Untied States of America, poaching isn’t simply a peaceful form of protest, it is truly your patriotic duty.”

The competition was launched in November and the deadline for entries is March 1st, but as testament either to the impossible – or ridiculous- nature of the task, so far the only video on the site seems to be the one posted by Burton affiliates. Sounds like easy money for anyone looking to make a quick $25,000!!

Watch the video – or upload your own- at

[via jaunted]

Filed under: clever promotion, stuff on the streets

Banksy Moves Santa’s Ghetto To The West Bank

santas-ghettoAnyone looking forward to Santa’s Ghetto this year (the annual supermarket-art show created by Banksy and selling the works of fellow graffiti artists) may have to travel a little bit further than Oxford Street. Actually a lot further- to Bethlehem! The artists have set up shop in a former chicken shop on Manger Square in Bethlehem opposite the Church of the Nativity, and along the way have used the dividing West Bank security wall as an 8 meter high blank canvas which they have decorated with highly symbolical and provocative images.

The website explains further:

‘The ghetto extends over three floors and incorporates the work of more than 30 artists. Among them Souleiman Mansour, Abed al Rohan Mousain, Sam 3, Ron English and Sir Peter Blake. Artists from Ramallah, Gaza and Bethlehem’s Dehaisha refugee camp are well represented. Others have come from as far afield as Washington DC, Madrid and East Sussex.

We would like to make it very clear Santa’s Ghetto is not allied to ANY race, creed, religion, political organization or lobby group. As an organisation the only thing we’ll say on behalf of our artists is that we don’t speak on behalf of our artists. This show simply offers the ink-stained hand of friendship to ordinary people in an extraordinary situation.

Every shekel made in the store will be used on local projects for children and young people. Not one cent will go to any political groups, governmental institutions or, in fact, any grown-ups at all.’


News channels Sky News and BBC News 24 have both picked up on the story and posted videos on YouTube, BBC even managing to get a phone interview with the elusive Banksy who says of the idea “It’s the world’s largest blank canvas and my hope is that with a few cans of spraypaint we can turn it into the world’s largest piece of art but more importantly the world’s most short-lived”

watch the videos here and here or find out more at

Filed under: arts & culture, stuff on the streets