A GPS Experiment Busts Street Thieves

What would happen if a furniture company left 24 designer chairs, many equipped with GPS tracking technology, on the streets of New York? Would people take them? Where would they end up?

Blu Dot, a furniture maker based in Minneapolis, found out with its “Real Good Experiment,” it developed with branding firm Mono. The experiment was equal parts marketing campaign for the chairs, which retail for $129, and research into the recession-friendly phenomenon of “curb mining”–the practice of nabbing household items left on street corners.

In the days leading up to the placing of the chairs, the experiment was picked up on blogs and gained a Twitter following. Some Blu Dot enthusiasts were following real-time locations of the chairs in hopes of nabbing one. The chairs also contained a hidden note, that when discovered by the takers, indicated they should call a number to be interviewed later.

“The key to this idea was involvement,” Michael Hart, founder of Mono, said. “Not just them taking the chairs, but the whole community with this notion of an experiment and “Where will the chairs go?’”

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