Carrotmob and the Power of Organized Consumers

I recently discovered Carrotmob, which is an awesome idea. I’ll explain what it is in a second, but I think their introductory video does a pretty exquisite job, without words, on its own:

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=2913530&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=00ADEF&fullscreen=1

I think they ruin the video a little with all that text at the end, but it’s still great work. Here’s their blurb:

Carrotmob is a method of activism that leverages consumer power to make the most socially-responsible business practices also the most profitable choices. Businesses compete with one another to see who can do the most good, and then a big mob of consumers buys products in order to reward whichever business made the strongest commitment to improve the world. It’s the opposite of a boycott

It’s kind of the equivalent of environmental NGOs just purchasing land so they can protect it. That is, you compel businesses to be responsible with the most powerful lobbying tool you have: your wallet. They call it a reverse-boycott or ‘joycott’. It seems like an utterly practical and pragmatic approach to enticing your local business community to behave more sustainably.

I gather this was the test run for Carrotmob, where local consumers chose a liquor store to support in exchange for their becoming more sustainable:

Carrotmob is partnering with 350.org to encourage people to run a Carrotmob on Oct. 24, a ‘Global Day of Climate Action’. Maybe we ought to try to organize one in Vancouver. Any thoughts on what sort of business we ought to work with?

4 comments

  1. Thx for this article. I read it on the heels of participating in Critical Manners. I can see a lot of similarity between this Carrotmob and yesterday’s law-abiding bike ride. They both have positive approaches activism.

    I just joined the Carrotmob’s Facebook group:
    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=79319761828
    via the Carrotmob’s Vancouver blog:
    http://vancouver.carrotmob.org/

    PS: The bike event Critical Manners website is:
    http://criticalmanners.wordpress.com/

    -=Dan=-

  2. How painfully naive.
    This will certainly appeal to people with half considered ideas on how they’d like the world to work, so who knows – maybe it will be successful and we’ll all live in a magical fairyland of exponential economic growth until the sun burns out.
    Or, maybe people will grow up.

    1. I’m not arguing that such an approach would change the world, but I think it can be effective on a local basis. Why wouldn’t it work at that level?

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