Cannes Lions

The USM experiment


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We wanted to win tomorrow's influencers - a new generation of designers and architects as credible ambassadors for our furniture classic. But to have real credibility, we didn’t approach the students. We wanted the students to approach USM.

We launched an experiment. We placed 50 pieces of USM furniture on the campuses of 6 well-known universities of design and architecture and let the students steal the pieces.

We documented discovery and theft and interviewed the students. This video content was uploaded on the blog of the digital platform and initiated a dialogue within the design community.

6 of the thieves became testimonials for the international print campaign. We portrayed them with the stolen piece of USM furniture in their private environment and completed the ads with a statement of the testimonials about the product.

In short: We turned thieves of USM furniture into trustworthy and competent ambassadors.


Implementation: we launched the experiment in 6 leading universities of design and architecture in the brand's main markets.

Media channels: installations on the campuses of 6 universities, campaign website, social media, print.

Timeline: the experiments took place between March and April 2015. The video content was put on the digital platform continuously between March and December 2015. The resulting print campaign was on air from March to December 2015.

Placement: 50 pieces of furniture in exposed places on the campuses of the following universities of design and architecture: ENSCI Paris, Politecnico Milano, TIT Tokyo, ecal Lausanne, HfG Karlsruhe, Parsons NYC. Video content was placed on the digital platform Print campaign was on air as stated on respective form.


Through the experiment, USM gained tomorrows influencers as credible and competent brand ambassadors which opened the door to reach a young, design savvy and hard to get target group.

The students’ interest manifested clearly the timeless quality of the modular classic in all the relevant markets.

The experiment led to an uncommon honest and unpretentious testimonial print campaign that stands out from others in the industry.

The extensive documentation and dialogue initiated through the digital platform, pr, social media and numerous publications in online and print media led to a new awareness within the target group. USM gained relevance as a design classic in general and as the initiator of modularity in design history.

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