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Viral Web Campaign to Help the Homeless

Viral Web Campaign to Help the Homeless
Advertising
Claudia Cukrov
  • 10 april 2009


A father and son team looking to gain media attention for their new marketing website have created a viral campaign which attempts to raise donations and awareness for the homeless.  When marketer Kevin Dolan found himself out of a job, Dolan and his son Sean set out to create a marketing company on their own.  Enter pimpthisbum.com, a viral campaign that the Dolans hoped would rapidly attract new clients and media interest.  Since launching their website in February, 2009 Pimp This Bum has received over half a million hits.  The site follows the life of Tim Edwards, a homeless man who’d been living beneath a Houston overpass for almost four years.  Viewers are able to observe Edwards and his friend John via Live Webcasts on the website, and can donate funds and aid to help bring the pair out of poverty.

Since creating their site the pair have attracted some criticism over their use of the homeless to attract business.  Dolan explains the site:

As we have worked with Tim and his friends on the street over the past two weeks I have had an awakening that I hope we can share with others through this project. We knew that the same campaign with a sincere appeal, and a website like “helpthehomeless.com,” would be ignored. We knew that if we insulted people’s sensitivity or appealed to their humor – on a subject as sensitive as this we would get their attention. Then when they came to the site to see what a horrible thing or funny thing we were doing, they would immediately be introduced to Tim Edwards. They would quickly see a warm funny, sensitive, intelligent homeless human being. Someone they could relate to – someone they would like.

Regardless of what people may think about the Dolans motives, their website has raised over $US60,000 in donations for Edwards, who has since been offered free rehabilitation for his alcoholism and reunited with his family.

[via Sydney Morning Herald]

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