I was disappointed to learn that this story wasn’t about rental space on posteriors (cause I’m getting darned tired of reading ‘Juicy’ on people’s asses). Instead, a Seattle enterpeneur has partnered with a poker players directory to use the homeless for advertising:
“It dawned on me this could be inexpensive and effective,” he said. And he believes it’s a campaign that benefits both him and the homeless people he’s hired to hold signs advertizing his Web site. He said he’s giving panhandlers a job and getting advertising on the cheap.
But the name he has trademarked for his marketing campaign, “bum-vertising,” has some advocates for the homeless taking notice of what they say is exploitation of the people Rogovy calls his employees.
I’m of two minds on this one. On the one hand, if it puts money in the hands of people who need it, great. On the other hand, it smells pretty exploitive. But, of course, most people in the western world participates in this kind of exploitation, whether they’re a supermodel or a suburban mom. Everytime they wear a visible brand, they’re advertising for a company (and not even getting paid for it).
UPDATE: The more I read about this, the more I think it’s a spoof.