by | Local (↓) | Authenticity (↑) | 5 comments | 1 question

A smart brass lapel badge depicting Suma-man. He was a fun character created in the late 80s to add some interest to the world of industrial detergents. (See how he demonstrates 'fun' with his endearing thumbs up stance.) He could be found on hospital hygiene posters, kitchen washroom stickers, food factory helpful manuals and even a chemical measuring jug. Sadly no-one from Hollywood called to try and negotiate the world-wide film rights to this charming character.

Where and how is it used?

Simply remove the backing stud, put the pin through your lapel and then refix the stud. It really couldn't be any easier.

What did you or someone else pay for it?

You couldn't buy Suma-man. He was awarded to key company staff and given out to esteemed clients.

Why do you want to add it to the museum?

Even today he sits on my desk. Next to Stewie from Family Guy, a green plasticine parrot made by my son, a micro frog and a tiny picture of my wife with a fox glove puppet. It was very hard to know which of these to put up here. The fact that he is in prime position, in my line of sight, 30 years after he was born means he justifies his place in the museum. I just hope that sharing his likeness doesn't inspire too much jealousy in others.

How was it made?

Is made in a factory

Is farmed

Is mass-produced

Is produced by local cottage industry

Is made to particular specifications

Is craft / hand-made

Is foraged

Is found

Is colonised

Is a service

Materials & Making

Who made or produced your commodity?

Whoever was on the end of the global sourcing department's phone call

Who was paid to make it?

Not answered yet

What skills does it take to make it?

Not answered yet

Where was it made?

Not answered yet

What does it cost to make it?

Not answered yet

What is it made from?

Buying & Owning

Who decides how much it costs?

Not answered yet

Who or what assesses its quality?

Not answered yet

Where is it sold?

Money couldn't buy this. It was awarded to a chosen few. I could put it on ebay now though.

Who or what sells it?

Not answered yet

How did this thing arrive from where it was made to where you got it?

Not answered yet

Where is it used?

On a smart jacket lapel. Ideally a suit. Ideally one that fits properly.

Where is it kept?

On my desk.

How and by whom is it cared for?

Not answered yet

How long will it last?

It's enamelled brass. It should last forever. Suma-man, you're immortal!

Where will it go when it's finished with?

Not answered yet

What is it worth?

Not answered yet

How do you and others value this commodity?

See the values contributed by visitors and those of the donor. And add your own values to this commodity.

Total times valued2
Positive (↑)Authenticity
Negative (↓)Local
Overall Positive450
Overall Negative-355
Controversy26.392857142857 (0 = most controversial)

What do these numbers mean?

This data that we have collected over time in our database means nothing without interpretation. A relational database, which we are using here, is technology that enables designers of websites and software to compare, contrast, interrogate and infer relations within data. The act of designing a database is not objective but driven by the agency of its creators and owners.

Within the MoCC Collection data is used to help think through the relations between values, commodities and data. Can we describe our values using sliders and numbers? How do we infer meaning such as controversy from data?

Below is a brief explanation of the some calculations and how these help make decisions about what is shown on the site.

  • Controversy Score:
    (Total Positive Values) + (Total Negative Values)

    The closer the value is to zero the more controversial it is in relation to other commodities. Used to infer that values associated with one commodity divide opinion more than another.

  • Average Value Score (used in the sliders):
    (Total Positive for Value + Total Negative for Value) ÷ Total Times Valued

    Used to infer a collective value associated with a commodity.

How do you value this commodity?

To add your own values click VALUE THIS COMMODITY and move the sliders left and right to add your own values - then click SUBMIT
show donor's original values
- 6
46 +
- 9
44 +
- 10
28 +
- 10
29 +
- 9
29 +
- 1
13 +
- 11
22 +
- 12
17 +
- 10
17 +
- 10
17 +
- 10
16 +
- 5
11 +
- 14
23 +
- 13
18 +
- 11
20 +
- 20
18 +
- 19
21 +
- 20
13 +
- 22
13 +
- 23
15 +
- 16
0 +
- 16
0 +
- 18
5 +
- 20
5 +
- 23
10 +
- 17
0 +

Questions and answers

Help to reveal unknown quantities, properties and uses of this commodity by answering this MoCC curator's questions.

Question: What might be an appropriate event at which to wear my Suma-man badge today, given that I no longer work in industrial detergents?


I think with badges and pins like this, they almost become classical. You sometimes see young people wearing pins like this on the straps of their bags, on the pockets of jackets or backpacks. They almost become timeless; a collectable. Something that you dont need to neccessarily know where it has come from, they can become something new and different to what they were. The fact that you used to wear him for work, maybe on a smart jacket, and KNOW his story and where he has come from, does not mean that you could not make him into something new. I think you could where him anywhere! Maybe mix him with some new friends!

by Becky on May 7th at 9:25am

I did give you a really nice long answer...but it seems to have disapeared! :(

by beckylouise on May 7th at 11:19am

@Becky - great idea - I'll wear him again next weekend at Art Week Exeter's Car Boot Sale

by morth on May 8th at 6:01pm

If I had a badge like this i would wear it everyday, probably pinned to a jacket. I think it would look particularly good on my favorite leopard jacket. Do you have a favorite jacket you could wear him pinned to perhaps?

by kez on August 27th at 10:16am

@kez I'd love to see a picture of that leopard jacket. I don't have anything quite as fancy but do own a nifty moss green jacket. But it only gets worn occasionally. Perhaps Suma-man should adorn my t-shirt of the day?

by mstanifo on August 27th at 4:13pm


Do you have questions about how this commodity is valued? Or want to talk about your own values in relation to it? Share your comments.

What happened to his other fingers?

by charliecoldfield on May 7th at 9:25am

Re: his "other fingers", you can't be familiar with Square Form Life Forms. Sorry I can't remember the Latin name for this species. However if you look at that other famous Square Form Life Form, Mr SpongeBob SquarePants, you'll see that he too has the requisite number of fingers for this species. Who needs a fourth finger anyway?

by mstanifo on May 7th at 10:01am

I am not sure Becky on May7th is right. Surely you cannot change one's person character without their permission. Or is it OK to call Becky a Transgender sexual deviant from now on?

by Msouth on May 8th at 9:59pm

How does he taste if you popped him in your mouth?

by kez on May 9th at 2:07pm

@Kez you really don't want to do that. He has a sharp acidic tang but the most obvious thing you'd notice would be his angular form jabbing in to your gums as he tried to find a way out. Suma-man thrives in the light.

by Morth on May 9th at 5:17pm

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