If you could give money to a homeless person without having to get too close, would you be more likely to hand over a few bucks?
That’s a question a new and unusual campaign in the Netherlands has helped answer.
BADT, a nonprofit that serves homeless people in Amsterdam, recently dressed up a number of mannequins in shabby clothing, and carved coin slots in their heads. The group then scattered them throughout the streets with signs asking for money to support the organization.
The campaign, produced by JWT, filmed the reactions from passersby, and found that many were pretty sympathetic. Some took the time to read the messages on the signs. Others took pictures and many gave money.
The goal of the project was to create some common ground.
"The idea is that the mannequin eliminates the invisible barrier that seems to separate 'us' from 'them,'" Brittany Greenquist at RYOT observed, "and instead creates a neutral ground while still raising money for those who need it most."
Maybe there’s a way to remove that barrier while still keeping actual homeless people in the picture.