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Ad for tap-to-donate teddy bear designed for street youth is part of provocative campaign


A nationwide billboard campaign that appears to promote grunge-chic clothing for street youth is causing confusion and igniting debate.

That’s exactly what the people behind it hoped it would do.

One such advertisement found at a bus stop on Vancouver’s busy Burrard Street features a teen in a poncho that doubles as a tent, so that the wearer can “set up camp anywhere.”

The ad includes a URL, at which viewers can see a glitzy video featuring other products by

Products include a jacket for cold nights that can be turned into a sleeping bag, as well as fire-resistant pants.

Perhaps the most provocative item is the so-called Tap-me Teddy, a stuffed animal that can collect spare change with a credit card tap to its belly.

The video is so well-produced, viewers might believe the items are actually for sale, until the very end.

That’s when the production takes a dark turn and the captions read: “This collection doesn’t exist. Neither should youth homelessness.”

“It gives people quite a bit of a visceral reaction when you see that, and it did for us too," said Shoshana Coodin, marketing manager of Raising the Roof, the organization behind the campaign.

The make-believe clothing line is meant to represent temporary solutions that Coodin and the team at Raising the Roof believe don’t work.

The poncho/tent for example, will only provide shelter for a few nights. Just like the teddy bear might only provide enough money for a few meals.

“We believe (the) long-term solution is affordable housing,” said Coodin.

The billboards are featured in cities across the country, and have been posted for free by companies that support the provocative campaign. Top Stories

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