What has happened?

Thanks to a legal loophole, Danish marketing agency Hjaltelin Stahl and newspaper Ekstra Bladet launched an ingenious web shop “Homeless Home Sale” giving homeless people protection against being moved on by police. As sleeping in groups is illegal, Danish law forces the homeless to sleep individually, which creates a higher risk of being attacked. Only those who are waiting in line overnight for a sale, are permitted to sleep outside in a group.

Ekstra Bladet wrote extensively about the challenges faced by homeless people with one of their journalists living on the streets for a week before the launch. Their content on homeless life filled the paper for weeks. Knowing that many homeless citizens have a smartphone, the online shop worked in the select areas of Copenhagen where they usually sleep. Before the launch, the agency filled the area with posters announcing the opening. Gathering together at a store location, homeless people could sleep legally via a ticket issued on their phone representing their place in the ‘queue’ for the store. The campaign generated more than 8,000 queue tickets, 8.5 million media impressions, politicians’ contribution on Facebook and Twitter, alongside international media.

We’re seeing rising numbers of brands going further to make the world a better place. Pushing for progressive change needs to come from an authentic place akin to Ekstra Bladet’s reputation as a paper for the people. The campaign was discussed across social and mainstream media without critical backlash. Don’t fake it, your values and internal culture must truly align to gain consumer trust.

Justine Jones