Creative in association withGear Seven
Big Issue Vendors Star in Their Own Outdoor Tech Powered Campaign
Advertising Agency
London, UK
The campaign was a winner in Ocean Outdoor’s annual digital creative competition

Forever Beta has launched a campaign to support Big Issue vendors after the difficulties they have faced over the last two years.

“I’m here” draws attention to Big Issue vendors, reconnecting them with their local community using technology. Using personalised billboards, the campaign lets everyone know when their vendor is at their pitch, giving them the biggest voice possible.

Forever Beta’s campaign was a winner in Ocean’s annual Digital Creative Competition, which celebrates and facilitates new and creative digital out of home ideas. 

Big Issue vendors buy magazines for £1.50 and sell to the public for £3, keeping the difference. In this way the magazine provides them with the means to earn a legitimate income. This campaign draws attention to the fact that vendors are out on streets earning a living.  

“I’m here” pilots with three placements around busy Westfield London pedestrian zones. Each screen connects to GPS beacons within a vendors’ jacket.

Whenever the vendor walks close to one of the digital screens, the geolocation technology responds, triggering a supersized version of them on the nearby screen which then points towards where the vendor is. This lets the local community know when they are at their pitch, directing passers-by to pick up their latest copy of The Big Issue.

If the vendor is busy, customers are able to buy a magazine from them through the QR code on the digital screen. 

Paulo Areas, chief creative officer at Forever Beta, said: "The past couple of years have been challenging for The Big Issue, especially for vendors. Our campaign reminds vendors’ communities that they’re still here, in the biggest way possible.”

"We started by redesigning the iconic red Big Issue vest to incorporate a geolocation beacon that allows vendors to interact with outdoor media in a whole new way. Whenever a vendor walks by a billboard, the tech serves a personal message from a giant, video-version of the vendors.

“When a vendor is away from their pitch, we use our billboard to let people know exactly where they are – pointing passers-by in the right direction. Every vendor becomes a powerful advertisement, increasing their reach and visibility – and letting everyone know that they can buy this week's copy of The Big Issue from the vendor.”

Nashitha Suren, group consumer revenues marketing director for The Big Issue, said: “This is a great campaign that draws attention to our brilliant vendors, who like many others, have gone through an incredibly difficult couple of years. Often, selling The Big Issue is their main source of income. We welcome this opportunity to raise their profile in this innovative way.”

Ocean Outdoor head of marketing Helen Haines, said: “Big Issue vendors are an integral part of our communities. This idea is all about helping them to regain their independence. It’s simple, yet brilliant and a worthy winner of our Digital Creative Competition.” 

The “I’m here” pilot has the potential to be rolled out across more major cities in the UK, giving more vendors access to this innovative technology.

Agency / Creative