Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Caution: “Awareness” Being Raised

And we all know that hardly a soul on earth is “aware” that there are homeless people, so there really is so much to raise.
BBH Labs, a branch of marketing agency BBH, ran an experiment over the weekend called the 'Homeless Hotspots' project. The company equipped 13 volunteers from a local homeless with mobile hotspots and gave them t-shirts with "I'm [name], a 4G hotspot," on the front. The volunteers were then sent off to offer WiFi access to people in exchange for a suggested donation of $2 for 15 minutes.
They are, of course, being used. But what’s odd and rare about this is that one normally only hears about homeless people when a Republican is in the White House because it’s politically useful.

Unless you use the homeless commercially, and call that “raising awareness” too.
However, the stunt has caused some controversy at SXSW and some have criticized BBH's scheme. Many people on Twitter have labeled it degrading or exploitative. In response to the negative feedback, BBH says the idea is built on the practice of homeless people selling newspapers for a dollar on the street and that they're trying to raise awareness for the homeless.