Big Issue vendors create own ads with M&C Saatchi

M&C Saatchi has taken a novel approach in its new ad campaign for the Big Issue, creating it in partnership with five Big Issue vendors, who thought of and executed their own campaign messages and posters

M&C Saatchi has taken a novel approach in its new ad campaign for the Big Issue, creating it in partnership with five Big Issue vendors, who thought of and executed their own campaign messages and posters.

The national print and outdoor campaign, Support Local Business, highlights the fact that Big Issue vendors are small businesses in their own right. It addresses the false preconception that Big Issue is a charity, rather than a social enterprise business model offering homeless people a change to earn an income.

Five vendors conceived and created the ads during a series of workshops with M&C Saatchi. Each poster reflects the vendor’s individual approach to selling and interacting with its customer. “It quickly became apparent that they were all interested in how to make more sales and wanted the public to know they were working and not begging. Their words became the headlines,” according to the M&C Saatchi creative team Conrad Swanston and Alex Bingham.

Ad created by Big Issue vendor James

Poster designed by vendor Carlos

Poster from vendor Jon

The agency also got independent typographer Stephen Kenny on board to help create the artwork using 19th century letter press equipment at his A Two Pipe Problem Letterpress studio in East London. This access was imperative, according to Swanston. “The vendors needed to have creative control over their headlines and this way they could take part and literally make the ads with the woodblock type. It also enabled the campaign to have a bold professional look to it without giving it to someone else to do,” he says.

The campaign is running across national press, online and outdoor, targeting the hometowns of the five vendors, London, Glasgow, Bath and Bristol.

The agency also documented the project in a short film, which you can view here, and the campaign invites the public to support Big Issue vendors by spreading the word via social media, using #supportlocalbusiness.


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