Eurobest

The Homeless Webshop

TBWA\BELGIUM, Brussels / SOLIDARITE GRANDS FROIDS / 2018

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Overview

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Credits

Overview

Background

Every winter, when the cold hits the city of Brussels, more than 7000 homeless people roam the streets, desperately looking for shelter. The government provides a number of places for shelter, but far from enough. Local Belgian organisation Solidarité Grands Froids tries to help, but providing shelter costs a lot of money.

The campaign objectives were two-sided. On one hand we needed to raise funds, because shelter, warmth and food for the homeless simply costs a lot of money, especially in a harsh winter. On the other hand we needed to create positive awareness around the problem again.

This topic has been in the news every winter for the last 10 years, so the public doesn’t really notice it anymore. And last winter we had to deal with a big Belgian scandal within the Brussels' homeless organisation SamuSocial.

Idea

In order to raise some much needed funds, we launched a unique webshop: The Homeless Webshop: a webshop without an address, looking for shelter on other websites. Just like the people it supported, it had no address. We asked people and organisations behind big and small websites to give shelter to our webshop. All they had to do was add a single line of code to their site. An innovative way to support a charity, not donating money but website traffic.

In the webshop you can buy virtual products, like sleeping bags or a room for the night.

Strategy

The homeless organisations in Brussels have had a difficult time since the Samusocial-scandal. People were not willing to donate money anymore… On top of that the story of the homeless people in Brussels is in the news every winter, so the public hardly notices it anymore. Our strategy was to create a positive movement around the problem of homelessness again. So we had to: generate donations, break through the PR clutter and create a positive movement again.

Execution

The Homeless Webshop was the first webshop without an address (or url), looking for shelter on other websites. Just like the homeless it supported, the Homeless Webshop had no address. We asked people and organisations behind big and small websites, to give shelter to our webshop. All they had to do was add a single line of code to their site. An innovative way to support a charity, not donating money, but website traffic.

In the webshop you could buy virtual products, like sleeping bags or a room for the night, to support the homeless.

We launched The Homeless Webshop on Facebook, with that line of code and a call for help. And it worked.

Outcome

The Homeless Webshop immediately found shelter on dozens of blogs, websites and media.

To name just a few:

- News sites like hln.be, lalibre.be, mm.be, sudpresse.be, ladh.be, sanoma.be

- The most popular magazines like dagallemaal.be, flaire.be, marieclaire.be, parismatch.be

- Brands like touring.be, kyalin.be, flanders.bio and several national brands all gave shelter.

The campaign was also featured on many other media like MSN, Belga, Bruzz, Paris Match, Het Nieuwsblad, Marie Claire, Metro, Nina, BX1, Digimedia, etc...

During the Holiday period the webshop received more than 225.000 unique visitors,

and was called one of the 7 the ‘most important webshops in Belgium’ by Het Laatste Nieuws.

By counting on the public, media and even businesses for visibility, we created a positive movement around the problem of homelessness again, which increased donations.

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