the coin-operated scientist

April 4, 2007 at 9:46 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

“The “Coin Operated Scientist” booth, seen here at a Melbourne street fair in February, is a “mini research laboratory with a coin slot in the front,” explains writer Matthew Page. “Inside, a ‘scientist’ sits slumped and motionless. When people make donations, he conducts experiments until he feels the money has run out. By inserting money to keep the scientist working, the spectators have an incentive to donate and they achieve an instant sense of satisfaction.” The scientist is actually a Multiple Sclerosis Australia volunteer doing a three-hour shift, but he can’t totally fake it; he must “practice simple science experiments, designed for 10-year-olds and up, before he starts the performance,” says Page. The booth will raise as much as $150 an hour at a busy event, but the key consideration is “it consistently draws crowds and generates interest.” Flyers providing more information on MS research and donations are, as you’d expect, handed out at the scene.”
from:’s print&design e-mail (no longer online)
alternate links: ads of the world, adrant
agency: Cummins & Partners (no reference on website)


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  1. I’m officially caught up to speed on the Life of Travis ™, but I still haven’t sent out that postcard. Maybe I’ll write a few more and send them as one big package for your birthday.

    Seriously, I’m so lazy it’s amazing I’m responsible for another human being’s life.

    That thing about Mick Jagger’s face was hilarious.

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