Friday, June 04, 2010

A Virtual Call to Action on the Streets of New York

Greg Dosmann, a brand designer at Stinson Brand Innovation, recently read the book, Ads to Icons: How Advertising Succeeds in a Multimedia Age. It explains how traditional media has been revitalized by the adoption of innovative approaches, which contribute to more creative and more impactful ad campaigns. In today’s blog, Greg shares a case study from the book.

"Pathways to Housing" is a New York charity experimenting with new technologies to raise awareness about the problem of homelessness and hopefully reach out to new donors.

Thinking of all space as ad space, "Pathways to Housing" projected the image of a homeless man sleeping on the side of a building in Manhattan. Words also projected onto the side of the building ask those walking by to send a text message to help get him off the streets. Through SMS technology, when someone sends a text message, it initiates a new video loop in which the man gets up and walks in the door of his new home.

As the man gets up, the organization's name and website address are projected next to the image. The person who sent the text message receives a message back asking if they would like to make a $5 donation that would be added to their cell phone bill. This is a really cool interactive idea to get pedestrians engaged in helping the homeless. Living in Chicago, I see people walk by homeless people everyday without paying too much attention. However, it’s interesting that the virtual homeless are grabbing people’s attention and compelling people to act. I must admit that I probably could not resist sending a text message to witness the technology unfold before my eyes.

"Pathways to Housing" set up the projections at nine locations. During a week, of 200 people who sent text messages, more than 30 opted to make a cell phone donation. The organization says that it also saw an increase in the number of people visiting its website and becoming a fan of the Facebook page.

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