I have been a longtime fan of Rob Walker's Consumed column in the New York Times Magazine because I am a life long consumer, and I have also become a student of consumer behavior. In addition, Walker was interviewed for one of my favorite documentaries, "Objectified." Recently, he has been a co-conspirator on the "Significant Objects Project", a real world lab study in consumer behavior. By inventing stories of meaning around objects in every day life and then selling them on eBay, Significant Objects auctioned off 100 items - $128.74 worth - that were otherwise insignificant "doodads and dinguses", netting $3,612.51 for the contributing authors and charities in four and a half months of 2009.
I've added his book, "Buying In", to my favorite reads collection below and below is a talk Walker gave at Google about the book, because I appreciate his perspective about the meaning of brands and products. As I have said before, I believe that great products can and should tell great stories which will create loyal, committed fanatics. Stories often give the most insignificant object meaning.
And, as a separate connection, Walker also wrote about the Blu Dot chair video, another experiement in consumer behavior which I posted thoughts on earlier this month as well.