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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Homeless People Became Wireless Hotspots

An unusual marketing stunt has totally backfired,when advertising agency called BBH came up with a splendid idea to turn homeless people at SXSW into wireless access points. The company is sure that it isn’t demeaning.

Now the homeless people are equipped with technology that literally turns them into human routers, thus making otherwise charity-givers into Homeless Hotspot users. If you make a small donation, you would be allowed to log on and use the Internet.

Advertising company BBH, which remains behind the scheme, claims that it set out with the best of intentions. The company does realize the concern which has since erupted over social networks. The advertising outfit’s initiative describes itself on its Twitter page as aiding “bring Street Newspapers into the digital age” introducing itself as a modern take on such initiatives as the Big Issue.

The company’s official blog first announced that people will notice “strategically positioned individuals” wearing T-shirts saying “Homeless Hotspot”. Later, an updated entry tried to soothe the furious Twitter backlash.

Despite the fact that it could be argued that turning homeless people into a way for others to check their email is thoroughly dehumanizing and demeaning, the advertising company keeps insisting that such activity becomes the business of the individuals involved, because they can keep all the income they received from providing access to the web. Meanwhile, the company itself has virtually nothing to gain from this except from, probably, exposure. And the expectations are that it will certainly get that.

Although the SXSW trial is regarded as a “beta test”, BBH still hopes that the platform could later be adopted “on a broader scale”.

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