When you look at a USB thumbdrive, you have certain expectations about its appearance. You probably expect to see a rectangular piece of plastic with a metal USB bit protruding from the end. Maybe it's fancy with an LED light or a sliding mechanism that pushes the connector out of sight. What you don't expect is a literal thumb that looks recently removed from a donor.
Canadian photographer Justin Poulsen went there. He created an eye-catching set of thumb-shaped thumbdrives to use in a promotional mailer campaign. Poulsen used a mold of his own thumb and embedded working USB drives in the flesh-colored models. A careful paint job added a finishing touch to each one, making the thumbs look frighteningly realistic, complete with a bloody area on the back.
The thumbdrives are accompanied by a message suggesting that Poulsen can help make clients "stick out like a sore thumb." The ploy definitely grabs attention more than the standard flat piece of card stock with generic graphics one normally gets in the post.
Poulsen often creates miniature models and other physical props to use in his photography, rather than creating everything digitally. This isn't the first time he's used upsetting body parts in his work. He previously created a zombie walk advertisement involving a gory hand holding a water bottle.
How would you feel if you received a severed-thumb USB drive in the mail? Would you hire Poulsen for his considerable creative skills and gumption, or would you be too grossed out to respond?