With Covid-19 continuing to wreak havoc, there are rays of hope in the midst of this global crisis. The new sense of community; the recognition that carers, delivery drivers and shop assistants do crucial jobs; the outstanding work of the NHS.
But the one thing that arguably tops them all is that, finally, the UK’s dispossessed have been offered a lifeline following the Government’s decision to protect vulnerable rough sleepers with its £1.6bn funding pledge and pleas to local authorities to go “above and beyond”.
The fact that it has taken the coronavirus to tackle this issue is, of course, not lost on most. However, this is only likely to be a short-term measure and it is with this in mind that The Big Issue is launching a creative campaign to call on the public to “sell” the magazine on behalf of its sellers, who have been asked to stand down for the foreseeable future.
Devised in partnership with social impact consultancy Fox & Hare, The Big Issue is asking existing subscribers and supporters of the magazine, as well as people who are working from home or have been furloughed, to volunteer their time and join an army of “Associate Big Issue Sellers”.
People are being urged to download the magazine’s app, or take out a print subscription and sell three subscriptions to three friends and family within seven days.
The Sell A Sub campaign has been launched alongside an animated video on LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube, created by Fox & Hare without charge, which shows how a local sheriff in the Wild West would recruit ordinary citizens to deputise for him during emergency situations – and calls on people to do the same for Big Issue sellers during the current crisis.
The Sell a Sub initiative sits within the #TheBigMissYou social creative campaign, also created by Fox & Hare. Supporters can go online to find out how to take part in the challenge, where they can download a welcome pack and “seller’s kit”.
The kit includes guidance on how people can update their LinkedIn job description and profile to let connections know they have become a volunteer during the Coronavirus crisis, and a link for others to click if they are interested in taking part in the challenge.
The Big Issue editor Paul McNamee said: “It is a brilliant new initiative. This terrible time has impacted on every single person and on every aspect of our lives. We have had to be fleet-footed and focused in our response. We needed to make sure we could get money to get to our vendors. The staff have been remarkable. The Big Issue team has done so much to grow subscriptions, shop sales and our app.
“We couldn’t have done any of it without the selfless help of the great British public as well as individuals and companies like Fox & Hare giving their time and expertise. Always, our vendors are central in our heads and our hearts. This initiative keeps them there. I call on everybody to support it.”
So, what is the consensus around the Decision Marketing office?
Of course, it would be easy to turn the other cheek, think of homelessness as someone else’s problem, and with predictions of economic meltdown, many people will be fearful for their own futures. But it does not take much for life to come crashing down and most of us are only a couple of missed mortgage or rental payments away from being in the same situation. Just sign up, after all, it could be you…
Decision Marketing Adometer: Another fully supportive 10 out of 10