The New York Times is a running a great article highlighting a new trend in the fashion, come art, come merry prankster world known as shopdropping. The idea is to legally purchase a consumer product, take it home and â€œimprove it,” then return it back to the store racks as though it had never been purchased. Such product improvements range from artistic projects, to humor, to outlandish messages and stuntsâ€¦
One of my favorite concepts is â€œcement cuddlers.â€� A group of pranksters purchased cute teddy bears from a toy shop and then proceeded to fill the bears with cement. They then returned them to the shelves, but only after changing out the description tag to read,
“Unfortunate Child, do not mistake me for living thing, nor seek in me the warmth denied you by your parents. For beneath my plush surface lies a hardness as impervious and unforgiving as this World’s own indifference to your mortal struggle. Hold on to me when you are sad, and I will weigh you down, but bear this weight throughout your years, and it will strengthen your limbs and harden your will so that one day no man dare oppose you.”
The Times cites other examples of shopdropping such as self-published authors sneaking their works into the â€œnew releasesâ€� section or personal trainers putting their business cards into weight-loss books. However I see these more as guerrilla marketing tactics than as shopdropping. My understanding is that shopdropping is more about physically altering individual items, versus simply changing the environment for self promotion or shock value. Better examples are making replica Wal-Mart clothing or the hand-drawn lightbulb boxes as shown in the top-most image. The Anti-Advertising Agency even ran a Shopdropping Workshop last year. Keep your eyes peeled this Holiday season!
Update: Apparently Bansky is into the Shopdropping scene as well with remixed versions of Paris Hilton’s album. Songs featured include, ‘Why Am I Famous?’ and ‘What Have I Done?’
Don’t you just love clever people?