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.
CR in print
The March issue of CR magazine celebrates 150 years of the London Underground. In it we introduce a new book by Mark Ovenden, which is the first study of all aspects of the tube’s design evolution; we ask Harry Beck authority, Ken Garland, what he makes of a new tube map concept by Mark Noad; we investigate the enduring appeal of Edward Johnston’s eponymous typeface; Michael Evamy reports on the design story of world-famous roundel; we look at the London Transport Museum’s new exhibition of 150 key posters from its archive; we explore the rich history of platform art, and also the Underground’s communications and advertising, past and present. Plus, we talk to London Transport Museum’s head of trading about TfL’s approach to brand licensing and merchandising. In Crit, Rick Poynor reviews Branding Terror, a book about terrorist logos, while Paul Belford looks at how a 1980 ad managed to do away with everything bar a product demo. Finally, Daniel Benneworth-Grey reflects on the merits on working home alone. Buy your copy here.
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