Poster ads have always been the place for advertisers to shine their creativity, and this example has been more awesome than new poster ad from Depaul UK. Bonus points for it not being some finance institute run by sideburns and copious tea-drinking but a homeless shelter for youth in London. The poster, created by publicis.london, wraps around a corner having two faces. One side reads how homeless youth are perceived, and the other side of how you should perceive homeless youth. It’s an amazing piece of copywriting, using the audiences own perception against them, and embodies one of the strongest marketing tools for homeless shelters: the everyman narrative.
While we like our superheroes, like our “chosen one” narratives, we also like stories who are as rich, as fit, as flawed as we are. There are whole stories about pedestrian #3 from the left, and have them ascend into the spotlight. While we have Batman, we have comics about the GCPD, or comics about living in the big city. It’s an entire genre of stories of just the average guy, not the hollywood handsome average guy (I think is Christ Pratt these days) but struggling to survive in their own world. Because we sympathize with us, and we engage with those we sympathize.
As I’ve mentioned before we care about characters not statistics, which is why nonprofits will show pictures of starving children and their names. One example has been a subway ad from the Covenant House in Toronto, “Why Can’t Street Kids just Get a Life?” It violates one of the biggest tenets of marketing, that is Keep it Simple Stupid by being just a block of text.
But getting English Prof here, if you do actually take the time to read it (please do because it is well-written), it also underscores how a overall perception of homeless is so shallow compared the more meaty reason, because they are people, they have struggles, they laugh and cry as much as the rest of us. Steve becomes a living human being, not just a obstacle on the street to look away from. For any shelters and non-profit homeless organizations, if they wish to gain more donors, or at least spread awareness on homelessness, it won’t be statistics, but narrative advertising to make the homeless human in our eyes. It’s their greatest strength.