For my BFA Thesis, I decided to look at trends and their power to move people in order to benefit businesses.
I had a few influences while thinking about this project. It all began with a freezer truck parked in front of my house with a sign that read “For Sale.” I looked back at the truck, then back at my Instagram feed, then back at the truck. I had an idea. What if, I remodeled it? Made it an empty space for businesses to rent out for a specific amount of time and sell their product. What if, when I remodeled it, I made it trendy? So that when people come to take a picture with this trendy truck, they find a flourishing business inside. The businesses within the truck would receive a steady flow of potential costumers. A point of sale established within a trendy heaven.
Turns out, trucks are expensive… I could not afford it, so I asked myself “Why?” Once I had the answer, I asked “How can I accomplish this?”
I started with my own trend experiences, focusing on the one that inspires me the most: the hunt to be Insta-famous, or just famous in general. Other inspirations of mine include pop-up shops, refurnished cargo boxes, and food trucks. For their mobility, temporality and overall aesthetic.
When an ordinary object becomes an object of desire. Nothing becames something.I got to the core of what inspired me to take on this project. It wasn’t making a food truck or a locale for local business to sell their products. At the base of all my dreams of having a truck was one basic thought, one basic influence… Trends as human nature.
MY GOAL? MAKE A POP-UP MURAL AN OBJECT OF DESIRE.
With the growth of social media and the online community, a lot of the younger generations will make decisions based on how “trendy” something is. However, after looking into the origins of trends and human behavior, I noticed that it is not just a millennial fixation, but instead a human one. We use trends as a means of survival. This brings me to the question… Can we create a system or formula in which we analyze and predict trends in order to attract consumers and drive crowds? Not because of the brand or the product being sold, but because of a calculated formula for trendiness. This phenomenon happens by accident when companies, either consciously or not, create a seemingly trendy visual within or near their point of sale, driving people to their locale in search for THE picture. Tourists or those in search of Insta-fame will visit these locations because of the possibility of taking a picture with the trendy object. I will sensationalize a non-existent mural with the combination of mystery, exclusivity, the right people talking about it and certain trend aesthetic values. The mural will be several painted foam boards used as backdrops for photographs to be taken. I will use certain “key players” within the Boston University community to create mystery and exclusivity, consequently creating a trend. This formula for trend will be tracked by providing a digital space/link that will act as a counter/receiver of crowds. A seemingly trendy mural will lure people towards the counter in hopes of finding the mural’s location. The goal for this thesis is not to explore actual “success” of the mural created, but it’s ability to prove the power of trends. We are living in a time when being viral, although might seem difficult and unattainable, can be calculated and formulated in order to profit a business. If I am able formulate certain trend aspects that prove trends are part of human behavior we can use that to better how we do business. A system that transcends brand and product loyalty, a formula for trend.
Now, I just needed to prove my thesis, my hypothesis, my formula. Time for implementation; I made my way to Home Depot in search of a material that would be light enough to transport and at the same time sturdy enough to stand on it’s own. To be the mural that I needed it to be. After wondering around the store for a good 15 min. I finally asked and George, was able to help me. He said that I could use a type of foam board used to insulate basements and attics. I purchased, gessoed and spray painted 8x10 feet of it yellow. The mural was real now, it was time to let people know about it. The last step in the implementation process was outreach and visibility. After reaching out to different people within the Boston University that I (with the help of others) deemed as influencers, I told them about my project and decided there needed to be a second round of outreach. I reached out to what I called the lower-tier influencers, people closer to me (who couldn’t say no), but still had influence on the BU public. I will use images and videos from my pop-up installations across campus to create a video to further spread the word and showcase the making of the mural. I used Google Analytics linked to the mural’s website and Instagram Business tools to track the fame of the mural. One of the problems that I encountered in my reaction sticker project was the lack of a way to measure it’s popularity and outreach. I had no way of measuring the success of my project. I knew that going into this I had to find a way to measure the murals effectiveness as accurate as possible.
After the mural and website being active for a month I collected the data. With this research I aim to break the stigma around trends. I want to inspire businesses to view trends as a beneficial to their overall strategy. Presenting trends as human nature, rather than a social media 21st century craze. Humans have used and continue to use trends in order to survive. Why would we chose to ignore them as they start to become more powerful?