You’re running a small company with a limited budget and you want to communicate to a mass audience the many creative ways one can perform an Act of Random Kindness.
How can you re imagine communications to achieve this goal?
When I first approached this challenge I knew that simply telling people that they should get out there and Ark° would not cut it. People are already overloaded with visual and verbal instruction and don’t need a kindness organisation telling them what to do. Instead, I asked: how it could be made experiential? How could it be unusual and disruptive? How could it be Fun? How could it be memorable and worth telling as a story? These are the real elements of engagement and word of mouth.
With these preliminary elements in mind I led a design process with the question:
How might me get lots of people Arking, and by their actions, get them to facilitate more people to do the same?
As a team, we looked at various ways we spread information on a one to one basis in the on and offline world. We looked at letters, emails, status updates, clothing, fridge magnets, notice boards, and even some items that have no relationship with communication like frisbees and car keys.
From this process, we brainstormed a number of possible solutions and rapidly prototyped them.
What emerged was ‘The Ark° clothes peg’, an ordinary wodden clothes peg that had an Ark° suggestion inscribed on it, with information on the brand and movement on the other side.
We felt that these could be best used as a social game in a festival setting as people have more of an openness to interaction. We envisioned people pegging each other once they had completed the Ark°, giving the former an excuse to engage a stranger in a positive way and the latter an invitation into an exclusive game.
We went ahead and bought 8,000 clothes pegs from a factory in China and made them the centerpiece of our marketing campaign at Electric Picnic, one of Europe’s largest music festivals.
They went down an absolute storm. People loved the imaginative use of what is an ordinary clothes peg and once we started the process of Arking people and attaching the clothes peg, they were almost running off to pay it forward!
There were also unintended consequences. Some people labeled them ‘positivity pegs’ and only Arked people who looked like they were feeling down. Others still were so taken by the pegs, they wore them as a fashion accessory in their hair and on their wellies! This is what I love about the design process. You can only know how a product will fare when it is fed to the lions!
Ark° was the talk of the festival with radio stations and personalities asking ‘What are these pegs about?!’
It’s a good case study in re imagining what it means to communicate. Rather than take the traditional approach of tagging your message onto established lines of communication, just be imaginative and create your own. Now everyone that buys an item of Ark° clothing receives an Ark° peg. Many are now adorning washing lines keeping coffee fresh around the world.