In-Your-Face Marketing

Sometimes subtlety doesn't cut it when it comes to cause marketing; aggressive, in-your-face advertising is the key to stimulating change.

Take an awareness campaign for the Weingart Homeless Center, for example.

The Los Angeles-based association gives homeless men and women the tools and resources needed to help them off the streets and lead independent lives.

The nontraditional campaign began when David&Goliath took to the streets of Los Angeles, where an estimated 70,000 homeless men and women live, and photographed 15 homeless people. Each person was given a piece of cardboard to write the same copy: "Before you turn away, put yourself in my place." Weingart's Web address was included at the bottom of the cardboard.

Once the pictures were taken, the faces were removed and transformed into life-sized cardboard cutouts. In essence, passersby could walk by and imagine what it would be like if they themselves were homeless.

The process of turning the pictures into cardboard cutouts took four weeks to complete.

The key to this campaign, though, was the media placement.

Cutouts were displayed in upscale shopping centers throughout Beverly Hills and Santa Monica over a four-day period. I'd say the realistic images placed outside of Cartier were pretty hard to ignore.

"While shooting, we saw people notice the cutouts, then walk by actual homeless people on the street and drop money into their cups," said Ben Purcell, creative director at D&G.

"Others were led to the Web site, which is currently being redone to include information about the project. During the course of the shoot, we learned that one couple with a child was able to find an apartment. We have not followed up with the others at this time. Our goal was to raise awareness overall," continued Purcell.

A job well-done.

3 comments about "In-Your-Face Marketing ".
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  1. Linda Meehan from Manna Freight Systems, Inc., March 23, 2009 at 4:05 p.m.

    So Ben Purcell is bragging that he promoted panhandling successfully? Nice work.

  2. albertus Van wyk, March 26, 2009 at 4:34 a.m.

    A great communication and marketing project!

  3. Tim Orr from Barnett Orr Marketing Group, Inc., March 26, 2009 at 8:39 p.m.

    I've never been a big fan of anything in my face. I remember a campaign from Butler, Shine & Stern a number of years ago. They put signs on trash cans that said, "Is this the only contribution you're making to the homeless today?" I absolutely couldn't be offended by that, and it made the point that needed to be made. It is too easy to say, "I would never allow myself to get into 'his' place." But what about, "Before you turn away, give a thought to why you want to turn away."

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