New Ad Medium: Homeless Billboards
In a unique twist in the outdoor medium, a Seattle pizza company is paying homeless people with food and money in exchange for holding advertising placards. Pizza Schmizza's Andre Jehan came up with the idea and sees it as a way to help the homeless as well as get advertising for his company.
"People don't have to feel guilty, while still appreciating the person is homeless. It's a gesture of kindness more than anything," said Jehan.
Predictably, there are detractors of the tactic. Gary Ruskin, director of Portland-based Commercial Alert, an ad-watchdog group founded by Ralph Nader, said homeless people acting as billboards should be paid minimum wage.
And he thinks it adds to the clutter. "People don't want to get hammered with an ad every time they turn their head. Most advertising is either somewhat of a lie or deceptive, and it's an assault on our attention."
Gary, can't we all just get along?