How storytelling increased ROI by 28x – Proof attached

Can storytelling increase revenue? Can emotion transform a gadget like this paperweight into an ROI of 28x its worth? The purchase price for this acrylic globe was $1.50 and yet it sold for $197.00 on eBay. How can that be? The answer relies on the power of narrative.

Paperweight auctioned with a story by Debbie Millman. Original price: $1.49. Final price: $197.50.

To prove this concept, Joshua Glenn decided to purchase a whole lot of cheap, nonfunctional objects found in thrift stores, junk drawers, and flea markets, budgeting no more than $1.50 apiece for a total of $128.74. Then he asked professional writers to create a short fictional story for each piece and offered them for sale on eBay. 

Could the power of story improve the price of a cheap thingamajig? Can narrative transfer value to an otherwise worthless relic found at a flea market? The answer was a big fat “YES” and the proof is available. The investment generated $3,612.51 representing an ROI of 2700 percent! The proceeds of the experiment went to the writers and various nonprofits.

Most of the time there is no objective reality to establish how we value a product. However, storytelling creates significance and models our perception of mundane things. I believe this is a big deal on how we market our products.

Here’s the story by Debbie Millman behind the acrylic paperweight that generated a return of 85X .

I’d love to hear your comments.
Learn more about Joshua Glenn and his experiment called the Significant Objects Project