Eco Stickers and Andre the Giant
By stern on Jul 26, 2007
My recent trip to Grenoble, France had Andre the Giant on my mind (figuratively, of course). The linkage wasn't due to Andre's origins in the Alpine region, instead, it was a gentle reminder that Andre the Giant has a posse, as evidenced by de facto street art in the form of stickers on buildings, signs, and the occasional NJ Turnpike toll booth. While in Grenoble, I was talking about social networking, memes, and how ideas spread through culture electronically and physically, and the shout out to Shep Fairey seemed obvious. After various wrangling over the use of Andre the Giant's name, Fairey generated the propaganda style Obey Giant stickers. A social movement without a cause, and a healthy brand to boot (You can pick up a book of Shep Fairey's street art at the appropriately themed Urban Outfitters).
All of this professional wrestling and pop art culture flotsam were swirling around in a half-written blog entry until I saw my first guerilla-marketing, eco-friendly meme in the men's room at Nola in Palo Alto. This appears to be a beta release of the sticker available at the These Come From Trees blog. A bit of civil disobedience combined with a healthy respect for the environment. The current version of the sticker is decidedly more eye-catching at first glance, and likely to at least cause a pause if not a healthy non-action toward paper products. It's a union of the two best idea vectors around: green thinking and bathroom humor.
It's this kind of in-your-face, inopportune moment art that makes people consider the second and third order effects of their actions. What better way to change consumption than at the point of consumption? Marketing has warned me that putting up pictures of cute and cuddly Antarctic creatures with the slogan "Processors or Penguins: You Decide" is a bit too obscure in terms of energy usage and its effects on global warming, but you get the idea.