Despite the long nights and chill in the air, Christmas is a time where our generosity blossoms. But amidst the season’s festivities it’s easy to forget about those less fortunate than ourselves. For those without a home, Christmas isn’t always a time to rejoice.
No, we are not a charity, and no, we are not asking for your money. So as an advertising agency why are we getting all gloomy?
Well, there has been a recurring theme of late with top brands and global agencies doing their bit to help the issue of homelessness in the world. This is, in part, due to the recent refugee crisis (and a bit of good will to save the planet never does your brand image any harm).
Providing support to Europe’s influx of refugees, Ikea has set a fine example for other brands to follow. Teaming up with the United Nations, they established the Better Shelter Programme, sending out easy-to-assemble flat packs to keep people safe and warm as temperatures begin to drop.
The issue on Britain’s streets has also been tackled. This month FCB Inferno collaborated with The Big Issue and Old Spike Roastery to create “Change Please”. The project helps those who want to be helped by staffing mobile coffee vans with homeless people, putting the profits back into the programmes to buy more vans for future workers.
More do-gooding from adland comes in the form of Crack + Cider, from Scarlet and Charlie, a strategist and creative duo. They tackled one problem head on – the public’s preconception that money donated to the homeless just goes on drink and drugs. The website allows people to buy products to make rough sleeper’s nights more comfortable. From a pair of gloves to a sleeping bag, they have created a reassuring way for people to make worthwhile contributions.
But you don’t need a ton of money and skills in advertising to make a difference. Lone wolf and former primary school teacher, Elliot Lord, set up his own initiative to look after Wolverhampton’s homeless population. By sourcing unused cardboard Lord created a simple solution for keeping warm but creating a cardboard bed, which he aims to distribute across the Internet in an open source approach. He shows us that you don’t have to have money to make a difference; you can invest your time instead.
It’s time to wake up and smell the (Old Spike Roastery) coffee. Let Christmas be your excuse to do something good. Even if it’s joining in on Christmas Jumper Day, like we’ll be doing on the 18th, every little helps.