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Advertising Helping the Homeless
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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We were all drawn to advertising for some reason. Maybe you saw a spark of creativity in yourself and thought advertising could help mature it into a career. Maybe writing was more of a strength, and instead of being a starving novelist, being a struggling copywriter was more up your alley. Or, like many others, you saw that you had the ability to create powerful messages for those people or entities that are unable to do so themselves.

Bennett Austin, an advertising student in the fabulous San Francisco, saw that he has that skill. Austin took his talent to the Homeless Youth Alliance in San Fran, an organization whose efforts are to raise funds and provide shelter, safety information, and other facilities to the homeless youth in the city. The HYA has also been hit by a budget cut from the city, losing about a third of its usual revenue. It gets even better; San Francisco also instated a "sit/lie" ordinance, meaning that people are unable to sit or lie on a sidewalk for longer than three minutes at a time. So it cut the funding of an organization that helps prevent the actions that caused the city to enforce an ordinance. Seeing the absurdity, Austin placed an advertising-laden bed at a paid parking meter. The bed had information on how people can "keep the meter running" and raise money and awareness for the HYA.

In a single day, the bed in the parking spot raised $600. Not bad.

Before people begin to curse advertising and those who support it, it is important to show those ignorant folks about what good advertising can do. And with the rise of "cause marketing" and consumers actually caring about what businesses do in their communities, cause and awareness campaigns won't disappear anytime soon. Oh, the irony.

Below is the video about the campaign.

h/t SFist

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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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