It’s a funny thing, but just yesterday I was mulling over this topic.
I had pulled up at an intersection and a gentleman wearing a neon-green bib asked me if I would care to buy a copy of The Big Issue. It struck me that these guys must have one of the most thankless jobs (yes, it’s a job) in the world. They’re trying to earn a living, dragging themselves out of poverty by selling something that most people don’t want. And the reason people don’t want it, is because they don’t know what it is.
The Big Issue contains some really good writing and for what it is, the cover price of R14 is pretty reasonable (at least locally). I bet if it were marketed better, sales would probably increase and that would mean the people who desperately need that income would get it.
You wouldn’t need to break the bank on it either.
Use the existing website to set up an email subscription that details what’s up-and-coming in the next issue. Start a reader-referral programme from within the magazine itself (get 5 people to buy the magazine and you get a free latte). Or write a blog post about the magazine and why people should buy it. These are just ideas off the top of my head. A little more thought and I’m sure there are some truly killer ways to raise the profile of the magazine.
As the people who are considered the experts when it comes to these matters, ad-agencies should make a point of doing this pro-bono work regularly. Adopt a charity or a cause – and do some work for it…for nothing. We’ve got the skills. We’ve got the talent. We’ve got the resources. We’ve got the knowledge. And we should be putting them to use not only for ourselves and our paying clients, but for those people who could really use our help.
And if you have an aversion to giving beggars money for nothing, but want to do something to help people who need it, why not buy a copy of the Big Issue? It’s not charity. It’s giving someone a second chance.