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Everything You Need To Know About Carrotmob in Germany

By Brent Schulkin June 19, 2011

I promised I would go to Germany and find out what they put in the water in Germany to make Germans the world’s most prolific Carrotmobbers. After two weeks of research it is clear that my mission was misguided: They don’t get their powers from water…it’s the beer! But seriously, these guys are impressive. They fully understand and care about climate change. Someone said 20% of Germans fit in the LOHAS category, so there’s already a lot of attention on “responsible shopping.” In general they are a well-organized people… this means that the trains run perfectly on time, but it also means that their communities are well-organized. Seems like the attitude is, “when in doubt, organize.” Let me explain the landscape of Carrotmob Germany and what I found there….

HAMBURG

Let me just refer you to Hamburg’s own recap of my visit, entitled, “The Pope’s Visit.” It’s true, they started a tradition of referring to me as the Pope, a convention that followed me all the way to Berlin. I’m happy to report that this is done tongue-in-cheek. But I’m not sure how to handle it yet. Bless your hearts, Hamburgers.

I’ll let their own recap and the rest of their pictures speak for themselves. The next Hamburg campaign should be rad. Here’s a highly ironic t-shirt I spotted:

COLOGNE

I had dinner with the organizing team from Cologne. Best sauerkraut I’ve had in my life. We talked a lot about what sort of technology the SF team is planning to build, and got their feedback on our master plan. The three German men in the picture below are all named Martin:

Also did a nice radio interview with Wilfried and the local Greenpeace chapter:

FRANKFURT

Karma Konsum was a ridiculous collection of luminaries in the German green business world. Great conference. The theme was basically “doing good with your money.” Thanks Christoph for getting me out there to give a keynote about Carrotmob. This conference held an impressive balance between business and ridiculousness. The venue was the former stock exchange building, and business leaders and the Chamber of Commerce were out in full force. On the other hand, after the first day hundreds of people did a yoga mob, and after the second day there was a massive “critical mass” style bike ride to a boat party.

(more conference photos here)

This is Tobi who interviewed me for a magazine article. Please also note the typical pretzels and Ebbelwoi, a special Frankfurt concoction:

Also spent a couple hours strategizing with Julia who is working with the city of Cape Town to design ways that the Carrotmob model can be successfully put to use in the townships for the first time. If anyone out there has helpful ideas on how to do Carrotmobs in impoverished communities, Julia and I want to hear from you:

BERLIN

Thanks to Alex, Micha & Ben for pulling together a last minute event for the Carrotmob crew in Berlin. About a dozen people was the perfect size for hours of detailed Q&A and strategy discussion. Thanks to Marie the organizer from Bremen for coming down to meet with us!

I spent a lot of time in Berlin glued to my laptop. And took a day and a half or so for sight-seeing (I’ll spare you the photos). Also did a nice interview with Kathleen who is going to spread Carrotmob to the Norwegians in a few months:

Here I’m strategizing with Sandra from Nest (Berlin-based social media agency for doing good). If for some reason it’s not obvious yet, my most productive hours were spent sitting at outdoor cafes:

I’ll add a photo of some non-Carrotmob people just because I can mention one obscure piece of Carrotmob trivia. Erik (below in the yellow shirt) is the guy who plays keyboard during the triumphant song you hear starting at 1:17 of the Carrotmob animation. True story!

MUNICH

If you live in Munich and you haven’t heard of Carrotmob, you will soon. In my two days I did interviews with 2 radio shows, 3 print journalists plus a video for the student organizers from the University of Augsburg. I’m wondering if all this attention is due to the Munich team being unique from the teams in other cities…. Most Carrotmob chapters seem to be made up primarily of individuals whose primary connection to one another is an interest in Carrotmob, with a sprinkling of other organizational affiliations along for the ride. However, the Munich team is anchored by an NGO called Green City. Svenja is the local point person, and Carrotmobs rely heavily on her work along with the work of the rest of the Green City staff, their community of volunteers, and others in the Green City circle of influence. This has worked out really well in my opinion, and it’s a reminder of how valuable it will be for us to support NGOs who want to do Carrotmobs, in addition to individual organizers. I had the pleasure of attending a campaign in Munich on my last day in Germany. As you will see below it was a tremendous success, and one lesson I take from this experience is that it’s probably much easier to pull off a well-executed, professional campaign if you’ve actually got people who are getting paid to organize it. Not a new idea, but it’s got me thinking more about how we can leverage the existing infrastructure at NGOs, and also how we may be able to provide other types of financial support to individual organizers for whom that would help them create more, better campaigns.

Welcome dinner at the Green City office:

Another big local leader is Christof. At 10am we biked to infamous Hofbraühaus for breakfast. There are plans to possibly do a huge Carrotmob at Hofbraühaus itself next winter. Christof has met with the proprietor and they are in talks to do a campaign which would result in more vegetarian items on the menu. But until that happens we shall eat weisswurst.

My last night in Germany was a Carrotmob at Stragula!

This is Conrad Tribble, the US Consulate General in Munich. Awesome dude, great to have him come out and support the mob!

The carrot theme was FULLY embraced….

…including a special all-carrot menu just for the event…

…and yes, I had two (2) carrot-based dinners because the food was excellent…

Another honored guest:

There was guerrilla knitting which turned this pole into a carrot:

Here’s the team from Augsburg who planned a campaign of their own on June 10th:

This is Svenja, the mastermind of the campaign:

As night fell and the bavarian beer flowed, things heated up…

And DJ Vanessa (aka Mantini) kept everyone dancing:

There was so much dancing I guess I forgot to take a picture. At the end of the night the owner added up how much the mob had spent:

That’s over 2500 euros. The owner was so happy that a free round of schnapps was immediately poured. 90% of this sum will go towards energy efficiency, which according to the energy auditor means one new freezer, one new refrigerator, some new lighting, and starting to buy electricity from a renewable source. This, ladies and gentlemen, is how a Carrotmob is done.

There were so many people who made this a fantastic trip for me! Thanks to all of you, especially those who made sure I had somewhere nice to stay in every city (Thore, Martin, Christoph, Nadine, and the US consulate). I had the opportunity to meet up with organizers from some other German cities (like Sebastian from Freiburg, Marie from Bremen, and the Augsburg crew), but apologies to Nürnberg, Bonn, Bielefeld, Trier (catch a campaign in Trier this Saturday the 25th!) and all the other hotspots I didn’t get a chance to visit.

I’m back with lots of new ideas for how we here at HQ can make your jobs easier. Fully inspired. Thank you Deutschland!

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