While the world and his wife – husband, girlfriend or even civil partner – obsess over which Black Friday bargain to grab, isn’t it time to spare a thought for those who have fallen on hard times, those who are left wondering where they will be sleeping tonight rather than whether they can stretch to a 60″ telly or not?
Step forward West London Mission (WLM), a charity working to empower people affected by homelessness, poverty and trauma to live more fulfilling lives, which is launching its first ever campaign designed to build support by making homelessness more relatable.
In a series of outdoor ads and social media executions, devised by AMV BBDO, the distinctive quirks, likes and dislikes of different individuals are brought to life, under the strapline: “…Sleeping rough. Homeless is what they are, not who they are.”
One reads: “She is a daughter and a big sister. World’s only sprout lover. Won’t be seen with her hair down. Dead scared of pigeons. Sleeping on the street.” Another states: “He is a dad of two. A Brentford fan. Can finish any crossword. Excellent at conkers. Sleeping in the park.”
In London, where rough sleeping rose 18% year on year between 2017 and 2018, homelessness is rarely out of the news and increasingly visible on the streets. Yet for many passers-by it is all too easy to walk past without engaging, either because they are too busy, or simply because homelessness seems too great a problem or someone else’s issue.
WLM offers a range of services designed to not only help get homeless people off the streets and into permanent accommodation and employment, but through counselling, workshops and advice to help people lead more fulfilling lives.
Despite this being the charity’s first campaign, AMV has been working with WLM since 2002, including fundraising, volunteering and supporting the ongoing work WLM offers homeless people, to get them into permanent employment and accommodation.
WLM communications and marketing manager Panos Balalas said: “Homelessness is a problem we can’t afford to ignore, so we wanted to make the problem feel more real for people to make them think twice about walking past homeless individuals without taking action.
“All too often, ‘the homeless’ are bucketed into the same group – the assumption being that all suffer from the same problems. But, as we all know, everyone is individual with their own distinct skillsets, passions, dislikes and personalities. So why should homeless people be viewed otherwise?”
The activity has already launched on the charity’s social channels, and goes live on out of home sites across Marylebone station in the first two weeks of December. WLM is also organising a carol service in the station on December 10, between 5pm and 7pm, to help encourage donations.
So, what is the consensus around the Decision Marketing office? Quite simple really, get your card out and donate here, now>
Decision Marketing Adometer: 10 out 10