Friday, January 31, 2014

2154 Bum Deal

Had one of those odd epiphanies recently. I was driving around doing errands and happened to encounter various but similar homeless guys at freeway intersections.

Based on their shoes, coats and general demeanors, they didn't strike me as the sort who were desperately in need of services. They were more like your traditional hobos. Bums, if you will. Interestingly, they all seemed to be offering a bum deal.

Accent on "deal." Because the signs they held up bore evidence of the fine hand of marketing. Their appeals weren't just baldly asking for money, they were couched in phrases that seemed a little more sophisticated advertising-wise.

One guy held up a sign done in bold curlicue letters. It said, "It's my birthday!!" complete with two exclamation points. 

Another at a different intersection was equally upbeat. His said, "I believe in random acts of kindness." Not only was it completely legible, it had a heart drawn and colored red on it. Not sure where someone may have donated him red paint. Maybe he got it from a graffiti tagger.

The final sign I saw in the series was a couple of miles down the freeway at another exit. It simply said, "Have a Nice Day." It too had color, this time your classic smiling happy face completely rendered in bright yellow.  Again, not sure where the yellow paint came from. Not your normal bindlestick bag accoutrement. 

I was led to conclude one thing. The bum coalition has recruited a marketing consultant. All those positive messages. A whole different approach to the ask. Color on the signs. 

Yep, it's Bum Re-branding.

More power to 'em. In this world, if you stand still you fall behind. Stick it to the man with his own weapons, dudes. As Smashmouth said, “We could all use a little change.” 

America, ya gotta love it. 

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