Coin Operated Scientist

February 2007

This was a live ambient stunt, to help raise money for MS Research. We built a mini research laboratory with a coin slot in the front. Inside a real scientist sat slumped and motionless. When people made donations, he would sit upright and conduct science experiments until he felt the money had run out.

Without your donation, research will stop

Advertising Agency: Cummins & Partners, Melbourne, Australia
Art Director: Carolyn Davis
Copywriter: Matthew Page

Comments (32)

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jacksonrabbit's picture
Activity Score 290

I would love to have a client let me do something like this. Really good.

crackerjack's picture
Activity Score 20

well, you see...this is the beauty of scam ads. you get a great idea. your agency buys into it and pays to do it up. you find a client that is prepared to put their name behind it (free advertising is free advertising, you know). and then you take some nice professional photos of the stunt. put them together on a board like this with a judges note...and off to cannes it goes, hopefully making you rich and famous as a result.
who says the problem need come before the solution??

ellehcimeo's picture
Activity Score 3516

so jaded, yet with reason. sigh.

the_ashlands's picture
Activity Score 1394

sounds like somebody is a little jealous....

Carolyn's picture
Activity Score 2

Hi Crackerjack, we're really glad you like it. MS Australia is our client, we won the business last year. They approved and paid for the booth. If you're not convinced, feel free to call MS Australia and ask them. It's already proven to be a great fundraiser and is scheduled to be used at several more MS events throughout the year. At this particualr fundraiser the guy in the booth donated his time for free as his wife suffers from MS.

jacksonrabbit's picture
Activity Score 290

Providing hope not just for MS Research but for advertising too.

No fixed abode's picture
No fixed abode
Activity Score 380

Ouch. Proactive doesn't always mean scam. Though you're right 95 percent of time Crackerjack.

Jet Propulsion Lab's picture
Jet Propulsion Lab
Activity Score 10679

What if my coin gets stuck?
Can I shake and kick the shit out of the lab? Would that disturb the dude inside too much?
Excellent publicity stunt.
I'd donate all my quarters, but sorry, tonite's laundry night.

Ney Frances's picture
Ney Frances
Activity Score 660

nice work guys, i see that the golden lion for guerrilha is yours! clap clap clap! mate, there´s a shrimp on the barb! go aussies!

is there life before death?

kre8's picture
Activity Score 989


jennywhx's picture
Activity Score 1142

i feel sad for the stunt. But yes it certainly grab attention. but how much they need to pay a stunt? why don't make a machine, i mean a robot that resemble scientist and move when a coin is insert, and perhaps the tagline is Even robot can't work without funding. Perhaps using a alternative than a human might bring this campaign further, cause, how long you can make the stunt sitting inside? it is a bit torturing...

esotericusername's picture
Activity Score 313

bad idea jenny.

ellehcimeo's picture
Activity Score 3516

jenny, if you read the previous posts, Carolyn explained that he donated his time. And do you have any idea how much a robot would cost? I bet it would be lots more than free. the man isn't being tortured, he's doing it voluntarily, and i'm sure he's not there day and night.

addyhoch10's picture
Activity Score 2592

"Inside a real scientist sat slumped and motionless."
> a REAL scientist? wow

i like it!

Rog's picture
Activity Score 6082

Well, he is Australian after all. (We have a reputation to uphold.)
And, why are 'charity' clients always the bravest ones?
Hmmm... Could I get funding to research that?
Love it, Párdners.

>>>> That's not an ad. THIS is an ad.

carlo's picture
Activity Score 163

I love this stunt... Good thing carolyn explain everything through. What i like the most is the idea that the person inside it is actually a close family of the beneficiary, and they are donig it for free... Very touching.


Because great designs need no further explanation.

shatru's picture
Activity Score 101 one had said client's cooperation required for such acts!!

me thinks's picture
me thinks
Activity Score 722

Holy mackerel! That’s incredible. Cheers.

Have Heart's picture
Have Heart
Activity Score 922

Very fresh. Would definitely grab my attention.

nuclearshower's picture
Activity Score 233

Impressive !

tiny_wordz's picture
Activity Score 325

great idea guys. and if what i read is true, great client too. i'm jealous.

marco's picture
Activity Score 118

Carolyn i know he donated his time for free; but maybe you should have paid him something so he could go buy some socks.
Nice one matty & carolyn!

mrtalented's picture
Activity Score 2171

in the concept explanation above said a REAL scientist sat in the box. if the REAL scientist has to waste time to gain more coins, i don't think it's the REAL assignment from the MS Lab.

i see a mime dressed like a scientist to gain more attentions from the judges.

igetit's picture
Activity Score 12

I think they intend REAL to mean an actual person. Cause someone already pointed out he's just a guy volunteering his time. I'd say he's not going to come up with the cure in that little booth. It's just a creative way to show how research stops without funding. Which is basically a great idea. Nice one!

mrtalented's picture
Activity Score 2171

then be careful about the info you put in. it sounded to me like they are trying to convince the judges not the donors. i never mentioned that the idea is bad. read carefully.

B128's picture
Activity Score 392

Isn't using a real scientist for a whole day (God forbid, maybe weeks) a big waste of resource?
An actor wouldn't have done?

ellehcimeo's picture
Activity Score 3516

read the previous posts. your answers are there.

Zed Bee's picture
Zed Bee

Hey that's not real science! Just what the average woman/man thinks is real science. Coloured solutions, primary school acid base reactions, pens in pocket, safety glasses. Do you really think you could do important science in a booth with coloured solutions? I know many pretty, talented female scientists who do not fit the sterotype society has of scientists. This is not real science, but rather a clever gimmick to get attention and hopefully raise some money.

esotericusername's picture
Activity Score 313

oh god, lighten the f**k up.

Guest's picture

I agree with esteric... it's funny and cute. Chill out, humans!

Guest's picture

This is great. I wish I could be a part of something like this locally. My son died from MS July 05,2009. Any advice or info on how to get something like this going here to encourage Ms research? I cannot go mainstream MS association because in the US they do not recognize or advocate CCSVI and I would want the monies to go towards that research area. If you send an email please put MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS AD in the subject box. Thanks!

Guest's picture