The Big Issue Group has partnered with the UK’s largest hand-painted advertising company, Global Street Art (GSA), for a new campaign centred around its vendors.
Following on from last year’s Cannes-winning campaign, I’m Here, which saw the same creative team design special billboard advertisements that located vendors using GPS, this collaboration comes in the form of a life-size mural.
Painted onto the exterior wall of Shoreditch music venue Village Underground, the artwork depicts a physical Big Issue store appearing to sell issues of the magazine.
Conceptually, the mural attempts to address misconceptions around the Big Issue business model and its vendor network – specifically, the common notion that vendors are simply looking for a handout.
In reality, they use their own money to purchase copies of the Big Issue and then sell them for a small profit on the street, making them ‘micro-business owners’ by definition.
The mural also promotes the launch of a new digital initiative that empowers vendors by providing personalised QR codes that customers can use to share their stories and subscribe.
Made by GSA’s lead artist, Pete Barber, along with his team, the mural attracts the attention of passers-by through its bold red colour palette and display of the magazine’s latest covers.
“We believe in the power of art to transform communities and inspire change,” notes Dr Lee Bofkin, CEO and co-founder of GSA. “Painting a large mural for the Big Issue Group was a great opportunity to create something impactful and meaningful.”
This campaign arrives at a crucial time for Big Issue vendors – whose numbers have risen 10% from last year – as they bear the brunt of rising costs, and the demand for food and fuel support increases sevenfold.
“The work we do has never been more important in light of the cost-of-living crisis,” says Zoe Hayward, group chief marketing officer at Big Issue Group (BIG). “We have launched this campaign to showcase ways in which our vendors work hard to earn a living and that customers can now boost their local vendors’ income in even more ways.”
Speaking on the progression of their campaigns, Bianca Green, senior creative producer at BIG adds: “Last year we explored the possibilities of technology, this year we return to a very primal form of expression. Both incredibly powerful, and both we hope are uniquely effective in giving Big Issue vendors the stage they deserve.”