Screen shot 2014-07-23 at 4.33.19 PM

Vancouver homeless campaign generates buzz worldwide

Convertible bus benches seen as antidote to anti-homeless doorway spikes

For some, a bus shelter is a bed.

That’s the simple, yet effective message a Vancouver homeless organization conveyed through an innovative marketing campaign that’s garnered worldwide attention.

Created by Spring Advertising for Raincity, the campaign uses park benches with a double-pronged effect – highlighting homelessness to the general public, and taking the non-profit’s message right to the very people who use the services.

One version saw benches fold out like “airplane tray tables” to create shelter for someone without a home to sleep. Another version of the benches read, “This is a bench.” At night, the light-sensitive ink changed the message to: “This is a bedroom.” Users were encouraged to seek more permanent shelter through Raincity.

Rob Schlyecher, creative director at Spring, said as an ad agency, they do not presume to be able to fix homelessness, but the campaign got right to people on the street.

“We can only try to act as a conduit between those who actually can help and those who need it,” he said.

“To that end, we wanted the users to see that Raincity was there for them on an immediate basis but also, through messaging and an address on the inside of the shelters, as a place to go for real help.”

Schlyecher said there was anecdotal reports of homeless people actually using the shelters while the campaign ran.
 Though the campaign ran last fall it’s garnered international attention recently as an antidote to spikes that were placed in doorways in London to keep homeless people away.

Media in the U.K., U.S., Chile, France, Mexico City picked up the story, though some didn’t realize the benches were in place as a short-term ad campaign.

Media Articles

Mona Networks takes mixed-use retail development mobile

New mobile network connects property management, office workers and retailers

Postmedia names Sid Lee agency of record

Win follows successful "Postmedia Reimagined" campaign

Corus Entertainment revenue up, adjusted earnings flat

Tough national advertising market adds pressure to revenue growth

Shaw profit beats estimates, but revenue doesn’t

Despite solid earnings, Shaw reports a drop in cable and satellite TV subscribers

The YouTubers CMOs need to meet

Four made-in-Canada YouTube channels brands should become acquainted with

Bell and Rogers in disagreement over NHL GamePlus mobile app

Canada's biggest media companies face off over access to NHL content

Fashion Magazine launches awards show

Inaugural event caps off annual World MasterCard Fashion Week

TVB disputes IAB’s ad spend figures

Television marketing body says numbers unfairly include digital spend on traditional media including broadcast and print

Rogers partners with Netflix on original series

Between starts filming in Toronto this fall