Cannes Lions

Poverty Line Prices


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“#PovertyLinePrices” was built upon a simple fact: when you earn five times less than the average Bay Area income, basic needs are five times harder to afford. To bring this reality to life, we increased prices in a grocery store by 500%—hijacking conversations surrounding 2016’s biggest shopping weekend. This “promotion” was then advertised with OOH posters.

We knew from data where Tipping Point’s potential donors lived. So we placed our 40 posters across key sites in San Francisco’s most affluent neighborhoods.

Our posters ranged in size from billboards to bus shelters to in-store POS displays. These were strategically designed to work contextually with shopping precincts, transit hubs, colleges and drug stores—places where the affluent rub shoulders with the less fortunate to buy (or not buy) basic necessities.

The campaign led people to a website where they could see how expensive items would feel if they were living below the poverty line


We increased prices in a grocery store by 500% and created a film that hijacked social media conversations during the biggest shopping weekend of the year.

Four-page coupons ran in the San Francisco Chronicle before Black Friday, and “#PovertyLinePrices” was featured practically everywhere—ABC, FOX, Mashable, the Huffington Post and even Upworthy.

Contextual banners on real estate, cooking and shopping sites showed people the increased prices of their shopping searches, as did contextual Google AdWords.

TV and OOH led to a website. There people entered their salaries to see how expensive items would feel if they were living below the poverty line. Users then shared personalized social content based on their items’ costs and donated the equivalent value.


Within the first 48 hours of the campaign, there was a 500% increase in web traffic, with 68% being new visitors. The campaign sustained a fivefold increase in weekly traffic. Media outlets, including Mashable, Fast Company, Upworthy, the Huffington Post, SF Gate and others—totaling over 190 million in reach and over $100 million in ad-dollar equivalency—shared the film through their sites and social pages, leading people to and generating over $1.5 million in donations to help fight poverty.

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