Sign of the Times

Seattle is home to about 550,000 people, and according to The National Coalition for the Homeless 5,500 of the residents of Seattle are homeless. That means that out of every 100 people you see walking down the street, one of them will not have a place to call home. You may meet them on a street corner begging in silence (cliché I agree but nonetheless true) or at a bus stop preparing a fix of heroine (I saw it with my OWN eyes!). We have the choice to willingly obliterate this cumbersome truth, or swear and promise ourselves, that this will never become us! In matters of assistance, there is only a handful of the population dedicated to eradicating this endogenous factor of globalization. As minimal as my summary may be, it doesn’t exonerate our society from projecting contempt towards this “sub layer” of the population.

Some consider Benjamin Rogovy a humanist and others call him a philanthropist. In 2005, at the age of 22, Benjamin became president and chief economist of Front Door Enterprises. Based out of Seattle, his website Bumvertising.com arms “bums” with a laminated sign created by Rogovy to be attached to their existing sings. The catch? The signs by Rogovy will advertise a company. At the moment they are advertising for Strategicdomination.com, a web based, real time game of virtual global conquest. Suddenly through Rogovy’s eye, his street teams of working “bums” have somehow recovered a part of their long, lost, human dignity, thanks to his divine intervention! They have another mission statement attached to their need to survive.

bumvertisingIn spite of the flow of good feelings, Rogovy as an entrepreneur did not forget to pick the “bums” that have the best corners to advertise for his clients. What about the others? Are they ostracized, or simply not worthy the attention? Does his “generous” move respond to the needs of society? If you are strategically posted, in high volume traffic for eight hours a day, you could become part of Rogovy’s team. The amount earned by each “bum” is not disclosed, but they do freely speak about the water and food provided. Videotaped, and photographed, the “bums” reach glory, they have a face, a nickname, they have a life believe it or not!

As a well-bred young entrepreneur in the service of his clients, Rogovy doesn’t omit to enumerate all the brands that are given to his little soldiers as a snack when he refers to the deployment of his pawns in this chess game known as life! Right Ben?

In times of economic devastation, the numbers of homeless people begin a steady incline. Help is always welcomed in any way it can be given, but Rogovy’s living advertising signs, seem to become even more deeply entrenched in their respective street corners. Water and food are vital components to the sustainability of life, but whether the quality of life is truly raised through bumvertising.com is yet to be seen. The ‘bums” at the heart of this new advertising campaign, confess no ill feelings towards the opportunity presented to them as they talk to Rogovy’s cameras. You’ll find their profiles posted on the website, each holding up their respective, handmade signs with a small part of their story and a plea. Something in me cringes, and shies away awkwardly from the idea that a corporation whose claim to fame is a game of world dominion, is advertising on the lives of those who seek to simply survive. Maybe the website will bring awareness. Perhaps some motorists will give a little more, as they are reminded of the game they enjoyed playing in the comfort of a warm home last night.

Bumvertising.com is another example of how to sell your company through altruism, where the cause marketing speaks louder in the name of the company, than the cause! Well maneuvered! I guess the poker player experience is to be considered in his choice of strategy! Is he a bluffer or a risky maverick? Your turn to play!

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