Give Responsibly campaign
It is a well-known fact that begging is a vicious cycle. The solution of effectively channeling funds into resources that help individuals with food, a bed, skills, and a possibility of getting off the streets has already been put in place. Awareness of the cause however, has not. In 2012 Infestation partnered with the CCID, World-Wide Creative and city-based NGOs to create an awareness campaign that would promote giving more responsibly.
The brief was not only about changing the behaviour of giving money, but mainly to create a paradigm shift. Understanding the problem was core, and presenting the campaign in a way that would not offend or patronise was a very real consideration.
We thus adopted a narrative-based comic-book style campaign, which showcased real success stories from people who had at some stage lived on the streets. We amalgamated these stories into a character named “Smiley”, and brought them to life through local illustrator Alex Latimer.
We wanted to show the consequences of either giving money, or giving responsibly and used a split-narrative device to show this. The first part of the story depicts Smiley on the street and how begging keeps her there. The story then pauses and asks the reader to make a decision, which affects the outcome of her story. A call to action, inviting the reader to give responsibly (by donating via SMS) is used to unlock and subsequently change the rest of her story.
A gorilla-style integrated campaign where Smiley became the storytelling device was used to start a believable culture change. The campaign went up on the streets via large-scale paper paste-ups around the city. This was coupled with the handing out of flyers and car stickers at traffic lights. Through the duration of the paste-up’s life on the street, the social media scene buzzed with real attention and interest.
The true success of the campaign has been the collaborative effort – working together with many bright people willing to share their efforts for a cause that is close to their hearts.