Hitting the Wall
Reverse graffiti. It’s not exactly fundraising, but it is getting one homelessness charity’s message out and about on the streets — and walls — around London.
London-based Crisis is raising awareness with its ballsy reverse graffiti campaign and, after all, from awareness eventually come dollars.
The controversial reverse graffiti guerrilla campaign hit the streets of London to coincide with National Homelessness Sunday, an annual day of ecumenical prayer and action marked on the last Sunday in January by more than 2,000 churches in England, Scotland and Wales.
Crisis chose 15 grimy sites around the city and then proceeded to blast some areas clean, creating the image of a huddled figure comprising the slogan: “Most homeless people have moved on, but their problems haven’t gone away,” and the URL to the organization’s Web site (crisis.org.uk) where passersby can get more information and donate.
Funny thing about this innovative campaign is that reverse graffiti is a legal gray area, since those doing it actually are cleaning the walls — in selective spots — as opposed to marking them. Call it “refacing” rather than “defacing.”
Crisis teamed up with Oceanside, Calif.-based marketing firm Mad Media and London-based marketing firm WWAV Rapp Collins to execute the campaign.
According to a Crisis press release, “The campaign aims to highlight on ‘Homelessness Sunday’ that although there are now [fewer] people living on the streets, there are thousands of homeless people living invisible lives in hostels or other forms of temporary accommodation — they are the ‘hidden’ homeless and some of the most marginalised and vulnerable people in society.”
The campaign also aims to increase year-round awareness of Crisis’ work, rather than just the Christmas perception that many people have of the organization.
“This campaign seeks to highlight that, while there are less visible signs of homelessness, the problem remains a major one and it’s imperative we get public backing that will allow us to continue to offer the help and support that can literally lead to many men and women rebuilding their lives,” says Andrew Page, director of fundraising at Crisis. FS