PeopleProducts123.com was collaboration project of AntiAdvertisingAgency´s (AAA) members Steve Lambert and Amanda Eicher in 2007. Main idea was through improved packaging reconnect labor and products. Improved packaging featured with images and stories about who made the products was placed in stores using a technique called shopdropping.
The whole project started when Amanda Eicher traveled to El Salvador and met people who made products we consume throughout the world. Back in US, she worked on reaching out to other photographer/researchers who document labors both in US and abroad.
Next step was to create redesigned packaging for the products with laborers on it. Designs were done by Amanda and Steve (authors of project).
One of difficulties was that production system is so contracted and sophisticated, that the employees often have no idea what they are working on.
Another question was how to distribute this project in the most efficient way. They decided for two ways - in stores and online.
The packaging was designed to be easy downloaded and printed on a home computer and caused no damage to the original product. With a quick and easy way to attach new packaging on product, the barriers lower for first shopdroppers.
On the page https://antiadvertisingagency.com/pp123/ anyone could and still can download PDFs, print and place them in their local stores. Participants were encourage to upload their images on flickr (with #peopleproducts123).
I was really glad and maybe a little surprised, that so many people took part in this project. It´s hard to tell, if project was successful or not. For the most part we have no idea who made the products we consume. Products are just appearing on shelves.
For people, who took part in project, it definitely made a difference and changed their point of view. But in global, it didn´t make any change. Project just affected a few people in few locations and that was the end.
Maybe, in future, the project will reappear, to remind us, that there is no magic behind products we consume on daily basis, but they are made by real people.
Lenka Hámošová 19–08–2020 14:38
We can not expect one critical design project to change the world. But it starts with these small actions that one day cause the snowball effect :)