Brent Schulkin in San Francisco has launched the first "Carrot Mob." What's a Carrot Mob? Well, it's a way to use the "carrot" of consumer buying power to encourage small businesses to help the environment. The idea is to use web-based tools to organize a consumer flashmob that channels business to stores that commit to environmental improvements.
Here's the catchy video of the first Carrot Mob "Make It Rain" campaign in San Francisco's Mission District last month. In short, the Carrot Mobbers asked local businesses how much they would be willing to invest in environmental improvements if the group were to organize a buying spree directed at that business. The result for the winning bodega? More than triple the sales of an average Saturday, lots of free advertising, oodles of community goodwill and a scheme to pay for improvements that, in turn, save the business money over the long run.
It's a great example of use of new media technologies to convene and organize a group of people that, working together, is more powerful at bringing about social change than any individual acting alone. It takes the traditional boycott model and turns it on its head (a girlcott?) to create incentives for good rather than an injunction against bad action. It's a collaboration between the business and the consumer to everyone's benefit. The video is really useful for creating a sense of that group and community and allowing people to feel themselves to have been part of something. And, it demonstrates that civic activism can be fun!