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 streetswearkids.com.
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.
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