One Man’s Trash. . . .
A recent NPR story profiled an intriguing
artist and entrepreneur named Justin Gignac. In that story, titled:
“Treasure or Trash? Artist Says It’s in the Packaging”, Gignac
puts forth a persuasive argument. While an intern at MTV, Gignac relates
that he engaged in a discussion with his fellow workers. One of them
expressed the opinion that “. . .they thought package design wasn’t
important”, according to Gignac.
That made Gignac rise to the challenge.
“So I figured the only way to prove them wrong would be to try to
package something that absolutely nobody in their right mind would ever
want to buy.” Garbage.
That was a few years ago. Since he began,
Gignac has sold over 1000 trash cubes of--selective New York City garbage--around
the globe. Making the cubes “compositionally appealing”, Gignac
sold his cubes initially as “gag gifts” for $10 each. Now, the cubes
sell for as much as $100. Each sealed box comes signed, numbered and
tagged as “Garbage of New York City”. A small affixed sticker records
the date the trash was selected for the cube.
The gist, according to Gignac? “People’s
perceptions have completely changed.” Translation: while some people
see nothing but trash, other people see art, especially since the cubes
cost more now.
Besides his original venture, Gignac
and girlfriend Christine Santora create paintings of items on their
wish list—everything from pizza slices to financial security and price
them according to the value of the real thing. . .I’m not sure how
‘financial security’ is depicted, but it’s an interesting concept.
Gignac observed that sometimes people have a distorted view of what
art is really worth. Or what really constitutes garbage? Or the value
of garbage? One of his ideas, for example, is to create a 6 by 8 foot
painting of a taco and sell it for $1.99, because “that’s what a
The paintings are available at a no-frills,
fairly low tech web site: www.wantsforsale.com.
In December, a similar site www.needsforsale.com was launched to raise money to help charities
get the equipment they need.
All rather unorthodox, interesting ideas.
Some of these ideas might lead to new marketing perspectives, as well.
- What do you think of the idea
- that packaging can make mundane, even odd items attractive?
- Which products do you personally
- buy because you really like the packaging?
- Would you purchase art if
- you really liked it, even if it was cheap? Or do you honestly think
- your personal perception of its value would increase if the price was
- What do you think marketers
- can take away from Gignac’s ideas and methods?
Please share your thoughts below.