See the other side to homelessness

An interesting campaign for homeless charity DePaul UK has just gone up on several street corners in London. The clever use of each site invites passersby to consider that there is “another side to the story” in terms of volunteering shelter for young people sleeping rough

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From creative team Dan Kennard and Ben Smith at Publicis London, the new project aims to spotlight Depaul UK’s Nightstop service which places homeless young people in the spare rooms of volunteers for a night or two, until permanent accommodation can be found. According to Kennard and Smith, writing about the work on their website, “worries about personal safety stop many people getting involved”.

In order to try and counter these perceptions, posters have been placed “on either side of the street corners where homeless young people are found. The left hand poster sums up people’s preconceptions. When both posters are read together the message transforms to show that there’s another, more positive side to volunteering.”

Agency: Publicis London
Executive Creative Director: Andy Bird
Copywriter: Ben Smith
Art Director: Dan Kennard
Head of Art and Design: Andy Breese
Designer: Dave Stansfield
Business Director: Will Arnold-Baker
Account Manager: Tom Froggett
Planner: Ant Harris, Louis De La Moriniere
Head of Operations: Debbie Burke
Executive Agency Producer: Steve McFarlane
Agency Producer: Greg Collier, Ed Page
Photographer: Mark Wesley
Art Buying: Claire Lillis, Sarah Clifford

DePaul’s site is

  • Anon

    I like the idea, but I’d question if it’s fit for purpose.

    The placements are on corners where young homeless people are found, which I suppose might alert them to the help available (if they haven’t heard of it)

    But the call-to-action is aimed at people who might be able to offer shelter. Do these people spend time in the same places as the victims of homelessness? The copy is well written and the design is ok, but it feels like the ideas all came before the understanding of the brief.

    I hope it works though, will happily eat my words if it does.

  • Sam


    I think this was designed with the hope that people would photograph it and put it all over the internet (a bit like the article above).

  • Engaging campaign – challenging people’s thinking without being preachy.

    Anon asks if those who might help visit the places where the homeless sleep – but that seems to miss the point. It doesn’t matter whether they do or don’t.

    The power of this campaign lies in it being shared on social media (which is how I saw it). The creativity is clever enough to make people read the copy and perhaps even talk about the story (as we are now).

    Rather than the message being confined to a few street corners, there is every possibility that it will travel the world – and maybe inspire people to help the homeless in other countries too.

  • James

    very very similar to a BBC America ad… and not as impactful either

  • James Taylor Scott
  • Anon

    @Sam and @HuwSayer

    I can see the value in that, but surely they should be positioned in areas more likely to be frequented by the people who are needed to share it then?

    The only engagement that has hit me for it so far has been via design blogs and through the design community, so hopefully it gains more traction elsewhere.

  • paul davis

    Trouble is I got drugged, robbed and beaten up. With a big metaphorical heart I only tried to help the poor waif and then she got her mates in and took everything as I lapsed into unconsciousness. I’m still on the side of the homeless but you have to so careful.

  • Carol Oladipo

    No.. I don’t think taking in strangers is the right way forward, but I do think we need to work at changing a society that results in so many young people being homeless. They need a safe place to go and properly trained people to help them build useful and safe lives But that is dealing with the consequences of a system which didn’t protect and support then in the first place. Let’s fight for a society that cares and supports our young people, and give them positive opportunities . investing in getting things right will cost a lot less than dealing with the fallout when lives are already ruined.

  • Jasper

    Seen this about 27 times in numerous D&Ad’s over the years. A bit boring.

  • michele

    Not only the young are homeless, so I completely disagree with this statement. One individual can make the day better for many. I am currently providing shelter to a man, his pregnant girlfriend and her young son who recently lost his father to cancer. I know these people, although at our first meeting was many years ago and I did not know one day I would help them, yet they help me too. The young boy is now my grandson and the pregnant woman is my daughter, as her mother is deceased. The man is my son. We are all in one family, the human family, and we should strive to help one another to make the world a better place.

  • This can be on the bus stop:)

  • Shannon

    I think this campaign is effective for the common passerby to see a different side of the situation. This was a new way for me, as a young woman, to think about this idea. The whole message was a side that I hadn’t thought about. I see potential value in helping out in anyway I can, but the situation still makes me feel uncomfortable. I don’t know if I would have the confidence to allow someone I didn’t know into my home. I wonder if there are other ways I can still contribute to the cause?
    Putting up these signs is a great way to fuel action and promote thought about what you as a person are doing for the community. I love this idea and believe that this campaign is important for people to consider.