I’m collecting for someone who..

A clever campaign from Publicis for the charity The Passage catching the public’s attention by using reverse messages on cardboard signs (typically associated with homelessness)

Publicis: “The idea was simple: give each volunteers sign highlighting the purpose of The Passage in a unique way.”

And during the three hours the signs were being used in Victoria station, London, donations increased by over 25%. A success!

/teary eyed.

The success of the campaign is great, and utterly dependent on the fact that these people are *not* homeless. People are more comfortable rewarding someone for their charitable work than doling out plain charity—because they need to ‘decide’ whether the homeless person in question is ‘deserving’ or not… Here they don’t have to decide, nor are they put off by the *realities*—dirt, odor, baggage, visible illness—encountered with actual homeless people.

In the case of homelessness, a socially palatable face will garner more charity; this is someone at *your* level, doing something for others, and the social pressure is to conform to their standard. Actual homeless or otherwise indigent people can be ignored. I applaud the people who thought of and participate in this campaign, because they cut right through to the heart of the issue: people like the idea of charity, but don’t want to deal with those who need it.