Another entry for the "Good PR has nothing to do with good taste" file.
Over the past few weeks, guerilla marketing firm GoGorilla Media has been paying New York's most enterprising homeless people to stand outside Gotham's advertising agencies and hold signs that playfully exploit their desperation.
"I used to be a media planner at a NYC ad agency, but I got fired!" read the signs. "Why? Because our client wanted an alternative media campaign and instead of hiring GoGorilla Media, I went with another vendor, and boy was I sorry! I haven't had a job since."
Ha ha. And to make the joke even more authentic, the sign is hand-scrawled in black marker on torn cardboard. Nearby sits a stack of GoGorilla brochures, free for the taking.
Someone alerted advertising blog AdRants to the stunt last week, and readers were quick to question its veracity.
"That guy is totally an intern," wrote one reader. "[H]is shirt is wayyy too trashed to be a real homeless person," said another.
But GoGorilla's president Alan Wolan stands by his homeless man. He's also defending the stunt in general.
"Sure, it may be a bit self-serving, but putting money in the pockets of the homeless is nothing to be ashamed of," he told the site. "This is a socially responsible campaign which allows us to reach key media personnel in a thoroughly unique and effective manner."
"Socially responsible" may be a stretch, but it is a clever effort. And the mileage GoGorilla got from being featured on the very popular AdRants likely dwarfed what it got on the streets.
Whether it inspires anyone to actually hire these guys is still an open question.
3. On the right track