The Big Issue “I’m here” campaign was a winner in Ocean’s annual digital creative competition which fosters and celebrates the best ideas in digital out of home advertising and went live earlier this year.
The campaign also won the Bronze Award at Cannes Lions in June 2022 – being only one of four awards this year won by UK participants. This follows Microloan Foundation, Women’s Aid, Born Free and Ancestry who have been recognised in the Ocean Outdoor digital creative competition and then gone on to win a prestigious award at the event which is attended by industry persons from around the world.
the campaign, launched by Forever Beta, supported Big Issue vendors after the difficulties they have faced over the last two years.
The Big Issue is a social enterprise which offers self-help and sustainable business solutions that dismantle poverty now and for future generations. Big Issue vendors buy magazines for £1.50 and sell to the public for £3, keeping the difference. In this way the magazine provides them with the means to earn a legitimate income.
This campaign uses personalised billboards to let the whole community know when their Big Issue vendor is at their pitch, giving them the biggest voice possible. If the vendor is busy, customers can buy a magazine from them through a QR code on the digital screens.
“I’m here” pilots this week with three placements around busy Westfield London pedestrian zones. Each screen connects to GPS beacons within a vendors’ jacket.
Whenever the vendor walks close to one of the digital screens, the geolocation technology responds, triggering a supersized version of them on the nearby screen which then points towards where the vendor is. This lets the local community know when they are at their pitch, directing passers-by to pick up their latest copy of The Big Issue.
Paulo Areas, chief creative officer at Forever Beta, said: “The past couple of years have been challenging for The Big Issue, especially for vendors. Our campaign reminds vendors’ communities that they’re still here, in the biggest way possible.
“We started by redesigning the iconic red Big Issue vest to incorporate a geolocation beacon that allows vendors to interact with outdoor media in a whole new way. Whenever a vendor walks by a billboard, the tech serves a personal message from a giant, video-version of the vendors.
“When a vendor is away from their pitch, we use our billboard to let people know exactly where they are – pointing passers-by in the right direction. Every vendor becomes a powerful advertisement, increasing their reach and visibility – and letting everyone know that they can buy this week’s copy of The Big Issue from the vendor.”
Nashitha Suren, group consumer revenues marketing director for The Big Issue, said: “This is a great campaign that draws attention to our brilliant vendors, who like many others, have gone through an incredibly difficult couple of years. Often, selling The Big issue is their main source of income. We welcome this opportunity to raise their profile in this innovative way. If you see one of our vendors, please head over and support them by buying the latest copy of The Big Issue.”
Ocean Outdoor head of marketing Helen Haines, said: “Big Issue vendors are an integral part of our communities. This idea is all about helping them to regain their independence. It’s simple, yet brilliant and a worthy winner of our Digital Creative Competition.”
The “I’m here” pilot campaign has the potential to be rolled out across more major cities in the UK, giving more vendors access to this innovative technology. As digital media becomes an increasingly important part of The Big Issue’s business – from digital subscriptions and QR codes for purchase – the campaign supports the publication as it moves into this new era.
Keep an eye on our digital creative competition page to find out how you can enter this year.